1-on-1 with Shama Hyder – Creativation 2018 Keynote Speaker


We’re thrilled to announce our Creativation 2018 Keynote Speaker is Shama Hyder. Shama is the Chief Executive Officer of the award-winning agency, The Marketing Zen Group, and best-selling author of two books: The Zen of Social Media Marketing and Momentum. As a speaker and strategist, she’s worked with leading brands, has been featured across major media channels, and has received numerous recognitions, including the Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award and one of the “Top 30 Under 30 Entrepreneurs” by both Inc. Magazine and Forbes.


Shama will give an insightful presentation on what businesses need to thrive in the digital age, and how to consistently market and grow an organization in the face of unrelenting change. We interviewed Shama to give you a preview of what you can expect to learn from her speech.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I wear so many hats. I am a CEO, an author of multiple best-selling books, keynote speaker, serial entrepreneur and investor…and those are just the professional hats! As a person, my family is extremely important to me, and I consider my employees part of my family as well. The team is very close knit, and I couldn’t do what I do without them. As a leader, I believe my job is to create value and empower others to do their best.

Your company, The Marketing Zen Group, has grown an average of 400% annually since 2009. How did you start the business and what do you attribute to its success?

We grew 400% in our first year alone. A big driver of our growth has been a keen understanding of social media and the digital ecosystem. We were arguably one of the first social media agencies in the country. We’ve been blessed to work with some amazing brands and companies, including Mary Kay, Chase Business, and the YMCA, to just name a few.

FastCompany.com dubbed you the “Millennial Master of the Universe”. Why are Millennials important to a business’ bottom line?

Millennials are no longer some small subsection of society. They have really led this technological revolution of sorts. By 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. Just think about that! It will be the other generations that are the minority. This means your customers, your vendors, your buyers, your partners…and understanding this generation becomes crucial and critical to success.

Can you provide a preview of your keynote presentation at Creativation?

I can’t wait to speak at Creativation. Whether you are a small business or a big box retailer, there will be something in it for you! My goal is to simplify the digital landscape and to truly define what it means for the industry. I also love sharing tactics, so not only will I be covering the broader strategy, but I’ll be sharing specific tips, tools, and case studies that the audience can implement as soon as they leave. I am big fan of low hanging fruit!

As an accomplished entrepreneur, what advice can you share with entrepreneurs in the creative arts industries?

It’s an AMAZING time to be alive and to be an entrepreneur. Technology, access, resources, and the ability to reach millions is tangible and real. You have to think of yourself as an editor, not a perfectionist. As an editor, you are constantly looking at progress, improvement, making things better for the 2.0 version. That type of mindset and attitude is key to being successful in this digital age.

Register for Shama’s Keynote presentation on Tuesday, September 12 at 11am EDT at CreativationShow.org.

Tips for the DIY bride


This is a guest post by Camille Wooding, DIY Place.

DIY has become quite fashionable among millennials getting married.  That ability to have something unique that reflects your style and be in on the latest artisan trends is hard to resist.  And hey – is cheaper, right?

Weeeelllll – maybe,  maybe not.  First of all – don’t mix up DIY  with “handmade” – DIY means “Do-It-Yourself” – you, your friends, your family.  It requires commitment of time and effort.  You have to design the elements, obtain the products and then make the stuff.  It’s a tall order.

Here are some handy tips:

  1. If you are not into craft and you don’t have a close friend or family member who is, DIY is not for you.
  2. Choose your DIY wisely. While you can, theoretically, make anything you see on Pinterest (I say this, just as a parent tells a child they can do anything when they grow up), many craft items require special machines an tools such as die cut machines, paper trimmers  and embossing tools.  If you don’t have these machines, unless you plan to buy them, you are stalled.  Even if you buy the tools, add time for learning how to use them.  Stick with items you know how to make.
  3. Make sure your design is consistent – get feedback on the overall design from a professional or from friends you trust. A good idea will be to choose a line from one manufacturer because they match colours for you.  Once you know the theme and colours, you can also visit your local craft store.  Many times the owners have access to manufacturers products that are not on the shelf and can order these for you.  They also have information about products that are due to be released so it expands your options.
  4. Local craft store owners can also give you advice on appropriate tools. Depending on your needs, a few punches and a paper trimmer may be all you need instead of a die-cut machine.  This can save you lots of money.
  5. Budget – DIY is not necessarily cheaper. It can be inexpensive if you know what you are doing. For example, it may be less costly to buy generic cake boxes and decorate them, than to try to make the boxes yourself.  If you want 1,000 flowers – its not going to be cheap.
  6. Plan. Plan. You need to plan out the process and allocate the required time.  You need to make the prototypes and time each one so you have a realistic view of how much time you need to spend on each element.  Invitations need to be done first and you should plan to get the other DIY stuff (boxes, tokens, centre pieces, place cards, agenda etc.) at least a month before the wedding.  Why? – Because that month will be chock full of other wedding stuff – rehearsals, makeup testing, dress fittings, bridal showers etc.
  7. Communicate and gain commitment. Don’t assume friends and family are available when you need them.  Get them to commit to a schedule ahead of time.
  8. Be flexible – what you have in your head, is not necessarily what the final item will look like. Also, you may not be able to find all the elements you are looking for.  Have some alternative ideas in mind when you go shopping.  You may be inspired by something you didn’t think of.  You local craft store owner can also give some help here.
  9. Keep it simple. Unless you are a craft pro and have lots of time on your hands, keep the designs simple.  This makes it more manageable.
  10. Know when you need a pro. Most of the items are expendable (yes, a lot of it ends up in the garbage).  Things like your guest book remain with you forever.  Spend more time on this or get a professional to do it.
  11. Take little steps – do things in small batches at a time. You don’t want to start off too ambitious and lose steam.  You need to keep your momentum going (and have some fun while you are at it.)
  12. Yes – you need a decorator. It could be hired help or a friend but you would not have time to set up the room if you are getting married the next day.


Canadian Anti-Spam Law – Are You Compliant in 2017?


This is a guest post by RealMagnet.

If you send marketing emails to customers in Canada, it’s time to update your practices to make sure you’re in compliance with Canada’s Anti-SPAM Law (CASL) Private Right of Action (PRA) provision, active as of July 1, 2017. It’s time to do your due diligence and get in line with the latest rules – as long as you’re making this effort, you’re protected from legal liability.

realmagnet infographicOn July 1, 2017, the Private Right of Action (PRA) provision of the Canadian Anti-Spam Law takes effect. Under this rule, recipients who have been sent mail in violation of CASL can sue for actual and statutory damages against the sender.

Download our 7 Step Guide to make sure you are in compliance with CASL in 2017.

“One Big Make-n-Take”: A Look Inside AFCI’s Visit to the Japan Hobby Show


In April, our President & Chief Executive Officer, Mark Hill attended the Japan Hobby Show, the largest consumer craft show in Japan. Organized by the Japan Hobby Association, the 41st annual Japan Hobby Show took place in Tokyo and attracted over 200,000 consumers over three days. From trends to new relationships, a lot emerged from Mark’s visit. The AFCI staff sat down with Mark and discussed his experience. Read our conversation.

How was your visit to the Japan Hobby Show? How did this experience differ from other shows you’ve attended?

The trip was successful. The Japan Hobby Association came to Creativation 2017 earlier this year, and extended an invite to us to attend its annual event.

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The Japan Hobby Show was the largest and busiest consumer event that I’ve ever attended. What is unique about this show is that every exhibitor utilizes hands-on demonstrations to introduce and engage consumers. Think of it as one big make-n-take. Consumers pay a $15 entrance fee and then visit booths to sign up for make-n-takes for an additional fee. They pay for the experience and go home with a finished project having learned how to use the products involved. Both the consumer and the manufacturer see immediate value.

In addition to the exhibitors’ booths, there was an area dedicated to individual designers who were also teaching projects that consumers could pay for and complete. The area was about half the size of a football field, which included about 50 different tables that could seat six to eight people each. There was a menu at the front of the area that showed projects available in each section; consumers would go in, sign up and pay, and then go back at the time the project was scheduled and have an interactive learning and playtime experience.

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What were some of the trends you noticed? Did you see any universal trends?

The biggest trend by far was jewelry making produced using a liquid UV adhesive, which comes clear and in many colors. Consumers embellish their rings, charms, story lockets, and etc. with various types of precious and non-precious stones, and then use a UV lamp to harden the liquid.

Indoor gardening and miniaturization is a trend that is occurring globally. I saw it in Europe at Creativeworld earlier this year. Both in Europe and Japan, this trend has evolved from the miniature fairy gardens we’re seeing in the United States. Even more miniaturization is occurring in Japan; model-sized hedges, plants, vegetables and all sorts of things are being used to make attractive table settings and other small décor pieces

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Another universal trend is painting and drawing. Yet, at the Japan Hobby Show there was an expanded use of colored markers and paint markers in manga or anime style art. This animated style can be found in coloring books and appeals to many young consumers.

There was so much there: Weaving baskets, and creating bags and other accessories using both natural materials and different colored lacings; Production of small accessories like handbags and hats using small pieces of fabric; Stenciling as part of a multi-media, small finished home décor pieces; Crocheting small projects for home décor pieces was also popular.

One of the most interesting areas was the edible arts section of the show. In addition to cake decorating and sugar crafting, there was a booth showing how to design with sushi.

What were you looking to accomplish at the Japan Hobby Show?

A core focus of AFCI’s strategic roadmap is to expand our global reach by partnering with international organizations like the Japan Hobby Association. During this visit we established a partnership to help boost trade and membership in both countries. Furthermore, we agreed to facilitate new business in each other’s events, to find ways to have Japanese suppliers exhibit at Creativation and U.S. suppliers to participate in the Japan Hobby Show.

You were considered a guest of honor. What did that mean to you?

On the evening of the first day, I attended a reception with Japan Hobby Association member suppliers and the Association’s Board of Directors. As the guest of honor, I had the opportunity to speak of and advocate partnerships with the Japanese creative industries.

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In addition, I discussed our 2016 Creative Products Size of the Industry Study findings and the $43+ billion dollar U.S. market, which the companies in attendance found interesting and exciting. This shows the value of our industry research on a global level. As a result of our newfound partnership, the Japan Hobby Association will be sharing consumer insights about the Japan market with us, which will be available to our entire membership later this year.

Did you make any new connections?

I was able to reengage a number of companies that I had prior working relationships with in my career. I was also able to meet the Association’s largest suppliers and distributors and other industry leaders over the course of the three days.

How is our rebranding to the Association For Creative Industries (AFCI) received overseas?

The Japan Hobby Association and its member companies were aware of the changes we’ve made to Creativation and our membership. They were very complimentary of the changes and are look forward to seeing more progress as our new partnership develops and strengthens.

Mixed Media 2017 Exhibitor: The Crafter’s Workshop


Meet the exhibitors that will be at the Mixed Media Event 2017 in this blog interview mini-series!


Tell us a little bit about your company.

“Before we made stencils, we owned a retail store – and what a story we could tell! We know what your challenges are and what your days are like. We get it. Buying stencils should be the easiest part of your day and we do our best to make that happen. Oh, and we make all of our stencils right here in the USA!!”

What can attendees expect/look forward to at your booth?

“As always, we will have the newest, freshest looks for your Fall/Winter merchandising plans. Lots of styles to choose from which are sure to tempt your customers!”

Do you have any product teasers or sneak-peeks?

“Let’s just say it’s going to be Jolly, Holly Mixed Media Event!!”

How will retailers in the creative industry benefit from this event?

“As a ‘recovering retailer’ myself, it’s so important to get out of your own bubble (ie: your store!) and hear how other store owners around the country are tackling the same issues.”

Mixed Media Event 2017 Exhibitor: Prima Marketing Inc.


Meet the exhibitors that will be at the Mixed Media Event 2017 in this blog interview mini-series!


What can attendees expect/look forward to at your booth?

“Expect innovation, education and a myriad of fresh products to spark your creativity. Our booth is always a reflection of our unique look and style and we always welcome everyone to come and see our newest products and designs.”

What are you most excited for with AFCI hosting the mixed media event this year?

“We are excited at the opportunity of showing attendees our latest mixed media products and educating our customers on the latest techniques and trends.”

Do you have any product teasers or sneak-peeks?

“Yes! We will have our sneak peeks of our latest releases on our blog in the upcoming months: www.prima.typepad.com.”

How will retailers in the creative industry benefit from this event?

“We think it’s a great opportunity to experience mixed media products through the vision of each vendor. We believe that our innovative products and designs make us a leader in mixed media and this even facilitates the education and creativity for our customers.”


Mixed Media Event 2017 Exhibitor: Lawn Fawn


Meet the exhibitors that will be at the Mixed Media Event 2017 in this blog interview mini-series!


Tell us a little bit about your company.

Lawn Fawn is a small company from Southern California that specializes in crafting products (clear stamps, dies, paper & more) that are fun and lively. Lawn Fawn was started in 2010 when Kelly Marie combined forces with her husband Mike and friend Erica with a mission in mind – to bring smiles into the lives of crafters!!”

What can attendees expect/look forward to at your booth?

“Attendees can expect a fun booth with all day make and takes! We love being able to connect and have fun with amazing store owners!”

Do you have any product teasers or sneak-peeks?

“Although we don’t have sneak peeks yet, you can expect super cute products that will make you and your customers smile!”

How will retailers in the creative industry benefit from this event?

“Retailers will benefit from this event because they will be the first to see new products. They will get to try it in our classes and make and takes which is always fun! We love being able to connect in person!”


The Power of Pinning



This is a guest post by Patti Biro.

Creativation Flashback

At the Phoenix event I was able to share some insights regarding how to use Pinterest to promote your creative business. Pinning for business is a little different than pinning for pleasure. It requires a strategic plan and some best practices.  To recap some of the tips I shared in my workshops read on!

Shelf Life
Unlike other social media platforms a single pin has true staying power. While an estimated 40% of clicks on your pin happen in the first day you will continue to generate clicks and repins for 30 days and longer. This extends the value of each and every pin that you create to reach a larger audience. Taking the time to create a great pin with staying power will maximize the shelf life.

Best Time to Pin
You will generate the most likes, clicks and repins if you schedule your postings in the evening hours. That is when Pinterest is most active. Target your pins for Saturday mornings or Fridays after 3:00 to capture the most traffic. Work days and work hours are not the time to pin. Use those times for other social media and outreach activities.

Be Original
We know you are creative-so be original too! 80% of the content on Pinterest is repins from other boards and pinners. If you create original content you can highlight your product or business to the best advantage. Be a bit out of the box and share ideas on how to use your product, offer a sneak peek behind the scenes as you create your products or something about your creative process.

The Big Picture
Pinterest boards and individual pins can be used to sell not only products but also services and events. Create boards that highlight your products but also keep your audience engaged with other content. Are you going to be at an art fair, outdoor market or pop up event? Use Pinterest before, during and after to generate interest and attendance and to share the fun of the event.

Grow Your Followers
It is just good manners to follow everyone who follows you! You can also grow your followers by searching out larger groups of likeminded pinners (some groups have several thousand followers). You can find a list of different pin groups and their size at http://pingroupie.com/. You should also follow your vendors and suppliers to grow your reach.

Keep your descriptions short.  Between 200-300 words is the recommended length. This is the place to be informative-not funny or cute. Add hash tags with caution. The only place you can use hashtags is in the pin description and they work a bit different on Pinterest.  A best practice is to keep hashtags to a minimum using no more than three.   Always link back to your website.

Use the description to add advice, give basic instructions or how to-s. This kind of description will get you more notice. If you are repining content add you thoughts and show your creative side! For example if you just found a Pin of a fantastic setting that inspired you share what is special about it to you and how you plan to apply it to your creative work.

Don’t Forget to Clean
Remove older pins especially pictures of events long passed or product you no longer sell or create. Take it one board at a time and clean house! If there is something you want to save just for your own use create a Secret Board that only you can see.

Now you are on your way to Winning with Pinning!

Have a look at some of our other seminar throwbacks from Creativation University 2017.

31 Days of Crafting: Tech-Crafting at AFCI!


March is National Craft Month! All month long we’ll be sharing stories from your peers about what they are doing to celebrate and how they are encouraging others to discover the benefits of creativity.

We were fortunate enough to have AFCI Professional Maker/DIYer Member, Natasha Dzurny of TechnoChic, come by today and craft with us for #NationalCraftMonth!

We made flashing bow ties and flowers using her tech-craft kits.

Have a look at some of the pictures taken today!

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

31 Days of Crafting: Scrapbooking for a Cause


March is National Craft Month! All month long we’ll be sharing stories from your peers about what they are doing to celebrate and how they are encouraging others to discover the benefits of creativity.

March is a busy month for AFCI Affiliate Member, Crops of Luv. Crops of Luv is a nonprofit organization that makes scrapbooks for families with critically ill children.

They are hosting one of the largest crops they’ve had during the year where they will complete over 20 scrapbook albums for families who have critically ill children that have been granted a wish.

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As one can imagine, it is a huge undertaking! It requires tons of hours of prep time in order to get all of the album’s and embellishments ready for transport to their event venue in Tucson from their studio in Phoenix.

It is a great event with an amazing scrapbooking group called the Pantano Christian Scrapbook Chicks – a group of over 120 scrapbookers that get together monthly. Once a year they host a crop in Crops of Luv’s honor.

Crops of Luv has been able to not only make scrapbooks but raised over $2,500 each time they had one of these crops. This is their sixth year having this event.

Jody McNeilis, Cofounder of Crops of Luv, states “We are very grateful for the opportunity we have to not only complete our albums for these deserving families but to raise much-needed funds to continue our mission.”

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Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

31 Days of Crafting: “It Runs In the Family”


This is a guest post by AFCI Staff Member, Kristen Farrell.

Most of you have probably heard and/or used the idiom, “It runs in the family.”

My great aunt, Kathleen Sullivan was a fine artist. Art was not her full-time job; yet, she painted whenever she had the time and inspiration, and even sold some of her pieces. Two generations have come and grown, and I’m sorry to say her talents have not been inherited. However, she instilled an appreciation for art in my family that will never be lost.

Almost one year ago to the day, my husband and I closed on our first home. About two weeks ago, we finally got around to hanging pictures and several of my great aunt’s paintings (or as my husband would say, “we finally gave in to putting holes in the walls”).


For National Craft Month, I’m celebrating my aunt’s artwork. I’m proud to share her creativity and have it serve as a daily reminder for me to make time to do what I love.screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-6-42-27-pm

I’m also hopeful for another family artist. Over the past few years, many of my cousins have had children. Who know, maybe there will be another artist among us sooner than we think.

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

31 Days of Crafting: Instagram Photo a Day Contest


March is National Craft Month! All month long we’ll be sharing stories from your peers about what they are doing to celebrate and how they are encouraging others to discover the benefits of creativity.

To celebrate today, we invite everyone to join Therm O Web’s Instagram NCM Photo a Day Contest.


Each day, post a picture and tag #thermoweb with your photo that goes with that day’s challenge theme. They’ll be watching for your responses and, in turn, they have some absolutely amazing prizes to give out to you for participating! They have fabrics from Moda, papers from Photo Play Paper, books by Erin Schlosser and Amy Friend, kits from Maya Road, Art Impressions Stamps, Blend Fabrics, Deco Foil products, HeatnBond and much, much more. But here’s the thing . . . you won’t know what day they’re giving those prizes out. So the best way to win . . . is to participate and share as much as you can throughout the month!

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

31 Days of Crafting: Roll-up Checkerboard


March is National Craft Month! All month long we’ll be sharing stories from your peers about what they are doing to celebrate and how they are encouraging others to discover the benefits of creativity.

For AFCI Designer Member, Betsy Burnett aka #CrazyShoeboxLady, March is a DOUBLE CELEBRATION! She celebrates National Craft Month as well as being involved in the Quality Craft Item of the Month – a time where year-round collectors from all over the world collect items to put into shoebox gifts. Betsy coordinates a group of charity crafters that calls themselves the #CrazyShoeboxCrew and they collect items to put into the shoebox gifts for Operation Christmas Child (OCC).

OCC is an international charity that sends gift filled shoeboxes to children in need all over the world. Shoeboxes are filled with: Personal Care Items; soap, toothbrush, comb, washcloth, School Supplies; notebook, crayons, markers, notebook, pencils, pens, gluesticks, rulers, toys, clothing items, a stuffed animal and more!

After creating and collecting items all year they have a huge shoebox packing party the first Saturday in November.

According to Betsy, Operation Christmas Child typically receives the least amount of boxes for children in  the 10-14 year old age range. With this said, she created a roll-up checkerboard to fit the bill!  The roll-up checkerboard is perfect for a boy or a girl it can even be personalized by the colors you choose, or the items you use for checkers.

Let’s see how Betsy put together her project!

Supplies Needed:
Fabric placemat at least 12” x 18”
“Checkerboard” stencil from Plaid Crafts “Farm Life Collection”
Acrylic Paint (Folk Art Acrylics Shown)
Stencil Brush
Masking Tape
Paper Plate
Peel and stick Fabric Adhesive Tape Therm-o-Web
24” length of Ribbon

Markers, Buttons, tokens (12 each of 2 different colors)


1” velcro pieces

Make sure placemat is clean and ironed flat if necessary.
With placemat facing you lengthwise, position the checkerboard stencil on one end of the placemat and tape stencil in place using masking tape.
Using stencil brush, apply paint to the stenciled areas, remove stencil and allow to dry.
Apply 2- 2 inch pieces of Fabric Fuse to the non painted end of the placemat. Fold non painted end of placemat up to the checkerboard to form a pocket. Apply firm pressure to taped areas to make sure the adhesive bond is secure.
Fill the pocket with the pieces you have decided to use for checkers and roll up board. Mark area on back side you wish to place the ribbon tie. Remove checkers. Apply 1 1/2 inch piece of Fabric Fuse to middle of ribbon (you might have to trim or fold over the adhesive depending on the width of your ribbon.) Place ribbon unto area marked, and apply firm pressure to secure adhesive.
To play: unroll mat and remove checkers
For storage: place pieces inside of pocket and roll up. Tie ribbon to secure.


Once rolled up most normal sized tokens being used for checker pieces should stay in place for storage. For bulkier pieces apply a piece of velcro along the edge of the pocket using fabric fuse.

Would you like to learn more about Operation Christmas Child and how you can pack your own shoebox gift for a child in need? Check out their website for more information.  How to pack a shoebox!

Check out the #CrazyShoeboxCrew on Facebook.

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

31 Days of Crafting: Suminagashi and DIY Tech-Crafts!


March is National Craft Month! All month long we’ll be sharing stories from your peers about what they are doing to celebrate and how they are encouraging others to discover the benefits of creativity.

To kick off National Craft Month, we are featuring two extremely creative and kid-friendly projects recently done by AFCI Designer Member, Carol Heppner.

Suminagashi Candle Holder

Carol’s first project is a candle holder… but not just any ordinary candle holder. Carol used Suminagashi marbling, an ancient Japanese marbling technique where ink floats atop the water and then transfers to plain paper, to create vibrant designs. Instead of using marbling inks, Carol use enamel paints from Testor Corporation for her project. The enamel paints also float on water and are able to dry quicker than inks. She then hand washed the finished marble glass with a soft cloth.

The finishing touch to the design is by Kool Tak’s Shiny Foils.

Let’s get started!

When creating this candle holder:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s precautions listed on the bottle of paint.
  • Cover your work surface with a plastic tablecloth.
  • Use craft gloves to keep your fingers clean.
  • Have long hair?  Use a hair tie to keep hair from falling into the marbling mixture.
  • Protect your clothes when working with paints.


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  • Craft gloves
  • Plastic tablecloths
  • Low-tack masking tape
  • Disposable aluminum pan filled with water
  • Toothpicks
  • Glass candleholder, jar or vase


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  • Testors Paints  #1127 GL Orange and #1169 FL Yellow
  • KoolTak.com Ultra Clear Tape, 1/8”
  • KoolTak.com Sea-Tones Shiny Foils


  • Place the masking tape onto areas of the glass that will remain unpainted.
  • Put on the craft gloves.
  • Add about an inch or so of room temperature water into the disposable aluminum pan.


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  • Place a tiny drop of paint onto a toothpick and then touch it to the surface of the water.
  • Use another toothpick to place the second color of paint onto the surface of the water.
  • Continue to add the paints a few more times.
  • Leave some of the paint as drops.
  • Drag some of the paint in different directions with a new toothpick.


carol heppner party favor q

  • Dip and then roll the glass into the paint on top of the water.  Make sure to cover all exposed areas of the glass.
  • Remove the glass from the water.
  • Let the paint dry on the glass.
  • Remove the low-tack masking tape.
  • Wrap the Kool Tak Ultra Clear Tape, double-stick tape, around the glass.
  • Apply the dull side of the Shiny Foils onto the Kool Tak Ultra Clear Tape.

Note:  Do not discard this paint/water in sinks because the paint can stick to the sink. Use a piece of paper to scoop all remaining paint from the water.
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TechnoChic DIY Tech-Craft Kits

Carol Heppner technochic flower 2

During the Creativation Show in January, Carol met with AFCI Professional Maker/DIYer Natasha Dzurny, creator of TechnoChic DIY.  One of her goals is to inspire more women and girls (age 8 and up) to use electronics in their creative endeavors.  Natasha gave Carol a DIY light-up paper flower to make with her ten-year-old niece.

The TechnoChic DIY paper flower kit is a great entry-level project for young girls.  The kit comes with paper flowers, an LED light, a battery and a brooch pin.

Carol Heppner technochic flower 3


The DIY light-up paper flower kit also make an awesome party activity.  Each kit makes ten LED flowers.   The kit’s step-by-step instructions are easy to follow and the finished flower will bring a sense of pride for the maker.

Carol Heppner Technochic flower 1

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

Exhibitors: Who’s New at AFCI’s Creativation for 2017


By Amanda Formaro, Crafts by Amanda.

There were plenty of new exhibitors at the 2017 Creativation show in Phoenix, Arizona. A full alphabet of new faces, from AFA Inc. to Zorbitz Inc. and plenty of letters in between. I had an inside look while on the show floor and was impressed by the variety of innovative product offerings. I went live on Facebook and took viewers through several of these exhibitors during the show if you’d like to walk along with us.


My first stop was at the Ann Williams Group booth where I chatted with Colleen. I should probably say that I’m a crafter and a painter, I don’t do any sort of needlework (yet). However, I love the idea of the Loop de Loom fast weaving loom that allows you to craft scarves, bags, and even stuffed animals in a much shorter time than traditional looms. The Loop de Doo bracelet maker would be ideal for tween girls and I think would be especially sought after by camp directors and scout leaders. Products available cover a wide range of ages, starting at age 6 all the way into adulthood. With brands like Craft-Tastic, Craft Crush, and Loopdedoo among others, there seems to be something for everyone!


I’ve seen plenty of DIY projects out there that show you how to change out your drawer hardware, but I’m loving the idea behind Cameleon Hardware’s design plates. These easily changeable plates are made from recycled Capri Sun and candy wrappers collected from schools. The concept is simple. Glue anything you like to the design plate and change out your drawer handle hardware any time you want. Leave the hardware in place and change out the plates as your kids grow and your tastes change. A very affordable way to change out your décor and style!

Next I visited Susan from Masterson Art Products where I learned about the Sta-Wet Handy Palette. As a painter that uses acrylics, this product piqued my interest. It’s made up of a thin sponge and special palette paper that provides a layer of moisture to help keep your paint hydrated, preventing it from drying out prematurely. This product comes in several sizes and replacement sheets are also available. Susan also showed me the Rinse Well which provides painters with access to fresh water without having to stop and head to the sink every ten minutes. The Rinse Well flushes the dirty water and refills the well with clean water. Finally, we had a look at their newest product, the Sta-New brush holder. Masterson says this allows brushes to properly dry by hanging them bristles downward. This forces the water to run down the bristles instead of into the handle, extended the life of your brushes.


I stopped by the Wilson Enterprises booth to have a look at their Birch Wood product line. All their birch wood is harvested from the upper peninsula of Michigan and is all kiln dried. Their items are used for a variety of things including ornaments, coasters, vase filler and photo plaques. They are used in scrapbooking, stamping, painting, carving, wood burning, screen printing, deco paging and plenty more. Many of their beautiful items have become quite popular for weddings too. From large slices of birch wood stacked to make a wedding cake stand to tiny slices of birch wood branches used in candle lit mason jars. Their products can be found in over 2,000 retail stores including big craft stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby.

I know a lot of crafters and seamstresses that will love this next one. I stopped by the Scissorfobz booth where I could check out their line of products. Pretty hand-beaded scissorfobz come with a protective cap adorned with ornamental jewelry. All are different and unique making them great gifts. They even come with an extender chain for your larger scissors. Their scissor covers are made with their proprietary scissor gripper material inside. When you put your scissors inside the sleeve it grips your scissors so that the cover does not come off until you take it off. These covers come in a 4-size value pack and are available on their website as well as in their Etsy shop.

I came upon some of the cutest crochet, knitting and sewing kits at The Crafty Kit Company booth. If you followed along on Facebook live you know I spent quite a bit of tie in their booth gushing over all the adorable kits available. Aside from the individual kits, they also have themed sets (polar set, African set, forest set, etc.) that are geared toward the kids. There’s a special token included with the sets. Once your child has completed all the animals in the set they send the token back to the company and will receive a scene in the mail to match their set.


Another source for darling kits for kids was the Haan Crafts booth. Sabrina Cassidy of Haan Crafts told me that they are a leading educational kit manufacturer with kids’ growth and development in mind. They offer adorable bagged felt craft kits that come in a variety of animals including a penguin, elephant, owl, cat, hippo, dog, tiger, raccoon, pig, and a monkey. They are packaged in resealable bags so kids can keep their project inside while it’s still in progress. Each kit has preprinted felt with stitching, placement and cutting lines on every piece. The kits include all the supplies needed including stuffing, needles and floss. Each package makes a 7-inch stuffed animal and a matching key chain animal. Their materials are made in the US from recycled plastic bottles.


Talk about a blingy booth! Brightz are lights you can use in crafting, in jars, as accents, tucked into flowers, threaded with ribbon, woven through bicycle spokes… you name it you can probably do it! Be sure to check the packages for details first, but I even witnessed lights submerged in water in a flower vase (not the battery pack of course). A great way to add some sparkle to weddings, an anniversary celebration or holiday party. Brightz are widely distributed and can be found on amazon, in mass merchants, craft stores, basically all over.


One of my favorite product additions at this year’s show was Colorwear. Introduced by The Mountain, Colorwear is a new concept of coloring t-shirts. This shirt manufacturer out of New Hampshire dyes the shirts and then prints the designs onto the shirts that you can color with Tulip brand fabric markers (included in the kit). Each shirt is hand dyed with eco-friendly water based inks and dyes and then printed with gorgeously detailed coloring book designs. You won’t find these in the big box craft stores though. If you have a favorite boutique store you like to visit check with them, or browse their 50 different designs on Colorwear.com.


If you knit or crochet you know the struggle that is the traveling yarn ball. Kate, the founder of YarnIt, was working on a knitting project aboard an airplane when her yarn ball rolled off her lap, under the seat and all the way up the aisle. When she finally retrieved it, her beautiful white yarn was covered in grime and crumbs. That’s when she came up with the idea of the Yarnit. This plastic ball with locking plug holds your yarn keeping it from falling and rolling across the floor. A new design is also in the works for skeins instead of just balls of yarn that they hope will be available by Mother’s Day 2017. And here’s a handy tidbit. The Yarnit has a removable silicone base that is perfect for holding small items such as tiny scissors and other notions.

At the U-Paint Metal Crafts booth I found myself surrounded by hundreds of paintable metal designs. Turns out, the Frank Morrow Company offers over 6,000 different designs! These paintable molded metal items work great as sun catchers, on wind chimes, as lapel pins, refrigerator magnets, and ornaments. They are per accessories for a scarf or handbag as well. With 6,000 different designs there’s definitely something for everyone, including boys! Sometimes it’s a little harder to find things the boys will enjoy, but I don’t think you’ll have that problem here.


Enter the world of Diamond Dotz. Seriously, the gorgeous bling in this booth was overwhelming. One of my favorite things about crafting is intricacy. I get lost in the zone as I concentrate on tiny details. If you are the same chances are you will love these Diamond Dotz. The company offers kits, big and small, which uses a polyester fabric coated with special adhesive and a stylus which has chemical reaction with their dots. You use the stylus to pick up the dot and place it onto the designated area of the canvas using a code that identifies the colors of each dot. In the end, you’ll have a dazzling piece of artwork only available at  Needleartworld.com


Finally rounding out my tour of the new exhibitors I stopped by the Giani booth. For about $80.00 you can buy a kit that will transform your entire kitchen. It’s true! There’s a little preplanning involved of course. If you have cats that like to jump on the counters, you may need to block off the room during your project. You’ll need to allow your counters to dry for 24 hours before you can use it at all, and then allow 3 days before you put anything significant on it. There’s a 14-day waiting period for heavier items like a microwave. The kit comes with everything you need to make over your kitchen. You can visit their website or stop by Amazon.com.

There was a dazzling array of new exhibitors this year at Creativation, you can see the full list of them here. I am excited to try out some of these “new to me” products and hope you will too.



This is a guest post by Hannah & Rosie, The New Craft House.

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that we recently spent a week in the USA. Whilst we were there to enjoy the sunshine and the food and whilst we may have extended our trip to include a few days in LA (!!!) we actually had a pretty important reason for visiting. We were asked to attend the Creativation show held by the Association for Creative Industries (AFCI) in Phoenix and basically nothing was going to stop us jumping on that plane out there.


The AFCI, previously the Craft and Hobby Association, hold shows in the US every year. We’ve never made it out to the US show before so we’re really excited to attend. The show has hundreds of exhibitors from across the craft spectrum, lots of workshops and seminars and a general crafty buzz that is hard to beat. Held over 5 days we got stuck in from the start and kicked things off by participating in the Fashion Fusion Challenge.


Hannah Sewing during the Fashion Fusion Challenge

The challenge was simple – using the patterns, fabric and tools provided, design and make an outfit. We were held up on the Greyhound so only had a few hours to finish the outfit but we managed it! Hannah sewed up a matching skirt and top with cute embellished bees appliquéd onto the top. Judging day came round and it WON the sewing category! Rosie even walked the catwalk in it at The After Party one evening.


We really enjoyed just walking around the show and meeting lots of new faces. One of our favourite stands was Sweet Georgia who had lovely yarns and a comfy spot to just sit and knit for a while. Check them out on instagram, we’re told they have some UK stockists too. The ladies on the Knit Pro stand (called Knitters Companion in the US) were so friendly and even gave us a couple of pairs of plastic needles when we told them that we hadn’t been able to bring our metal ones on the flight. They saved us 12 hours of boredom on the way home!


We had a great time in Phoenix and are really hoping we can go back next year. We’ll also be sharing a post shortly about why being a member of the AFCI is a great idea if you’re a designer/maker, stockist, supplier, manufacturer or even a blogger!


Hannah & Rosie

Top 3 Trends from Creativation 2017


This is a guest post by Amber Gerstel, Damask Love.


Did you make it Creativation? Or did you stay home this year, and watch closely as social media kept you up to date? Either way, I’m here to bring you up to speed on some of the trends I spotted while walking the Creativation Show floor.

Before we dive in, I guess I should introduce myself! I’m Amber and you can find me blogging the day away on Damask Love. You can also catch me on the Home Shopping Channel where I sell all sorts of tempting, crafty goodies.

The 2017 Creativation Show was filled with unbelievable amounts of innovation and creativity, but as I walked around, there were a few trends and themes that kept popping up – so that’s what I’m here to bring you! The Top Three Trends of Creativation 2017. Here we go!

Palm Trees, Popsicles, Pineapples – oh my!

Of all the recurring themes at Creativation 2017, this was the one I saw most – and I’m not mad about it! It may have been chilly and rainy in Phoenix, but in the Convention Center, things were warming up with lots of summery, warm paper collections.

Amy Tan:  The Amy Tan On A Whim collection featured adorable notebooks, puffy embellishments and patterned papers all with a tropical feel. Her paper flower backdrop was a frequent stop of Creativation selfies.



My Minds Eye: MME is a personal favorite of mine and their “Palm Beach” collection is probably why I love them so much! Flamingo paper, palm leaf notecards and foiled pineapples – there’s nothing NOT to love.



DecoArt: Even though they’re known for paints, DecoArt had several touches of paradise throughout their booth at Creativation. Their stencils featured plenty of tropical vibes. How beautiful is this tray created with a palm leaf stencil?


EchoPark: If you’re yearning for summertime, take a peek at the Echo Park “Summer Dreams” Collection. Popsicles, bikinis and of course a few flip flops complete this perfect theme.



Silhouette: The folks at Silhouette paid special homage to tropical temps with a full display featuring flamingos and the CUTEST donuts-turned-pineapples.


Sweet SugarBelle: Who knew that cookie decorating could be so mesmerizing! I spent more than a few minutes at the Sweet SugarBelle booth, where she decorated cookies, showing up how a candy corn cookie can also be decorated to look like a watermelon! Genius and perfect for any time of year – including summertime.



I’m sure it comes as no surprise that planners were in attendance at this year’s Creativation Show. Several companies launched planner dies, papers and tools. Let’s take a look! Me and My Big Ideas: This company is known for creating beautiful, practical calendars with their expandable disc-bound system. This year they showcased their wide selection of planner stickers, Pocket Pages, die cuts and more!


We R Memory Keepers: There’s a new tool in town for all your planner lovers! The We R Memory Keepers Planner Punch Board let’s you easily create custom planner pages and inserts with your favorite papers. Punch holes for any size or style of planner up to 12 inches, including basic holes, spiral bound, and disc bound.


Sizzix: With coloring stickers, Thinlets dies and more, Sizzix added some great products to the world of planner-ing (is that even a word?!)


Webster’s Pages: If you are a planner and a lover of bright, bold colors, Webster’s Pages has everything you need! They’re lineup of colorful spiral planners stopped me right in my tracks! I think I want the teal and pink floral pattern! Or maybe the bright yellow? What about you?



For the Love of Layering

And last but not least is a trend that took me a bit my surprise: layering stamps! Several companies launched stamps that layer beautifully to create dimensional images without adding any bulk to your cards. Let’s take a peek at two of my favorites!

Hero Arts: I wish you could have seen these in person! They are amazing…but I must say, the croissant has a special place in my carb-loving heart! With these stamps, you can add such “WOW” to your paper crafting and they’ve done all the hard work for you. All you have to do is stamp.


Waffle Flower: When it comes to layering stamps, I was most impressed by the incredible “marble” stamp set offered by Waffle Flower Stamps. With it you can create the look of marbling on your card! So smart!


I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour through a few of the trends at Creativation 2017. Which trend is your favorite?!

#makeitwithMichaels at Creativation!


Michaels is proud to be a sponsor of the 2017 Creativation Show. As a company rooted in the spirit of creativity and making, we are excited to bring that energy to Phoenix this weekend! Through a variety of fun and engaging events you’ll find numerous ways to #makeitwithMichaels. The trade show floor, will host The Michaels bookstore sponsored by our friends at Baker and Taylor. Drop by for a chance to join (and meet!) some of your favorite artists. Project sheets will be available for guest to take away all the exciting tips and tricks they hear.

On Sunday evening, The After Party at The Duce, is sponsored by Michaels and is not to be missed! The night will be full of creativity and innovation, as the top looks from the fashion fusion collaboration are showcased! Guests will be able to use the evening to mix, mingle and make. The night will be a great time to network, find inspiration, and of course-kick back and have a little fun J

We hope you’re ready to enjoy the weekend and unleash your inner maker!

Your Crafting Corner: Work Your Magic


This is a guest post by Office Depot.

When you start a craft project, working in a bright organized space is the key to success. The space needs to be organized, the atmosphere must evoke creativity, and your supplies have to be within arm’s reach. If any of these scenarios are off, then your work – and your sanity – suffer. Finding a solution to simplify your space can seem impossible.

Luckily, Office Depot has picked the best craft room organization products to store your tools, papers, beads and any accessories in between. Improve the flow of your space with collapsible boxes that stack and slide under your desk, or brighten your area with clamp-on lamps that can move to any spot that needs extra illumination. Whether you need to stock up on general craft supplies or are looking for a specific type of storage cabinet, this selection will do the trick when it comes to sparking your creativity.

It’s important to remember that everything has its place when trying to keep chaos at bay. Keeping your workspace tidy should be a breeze once you’ve incorporated some of Office Depot’s clever organization solutions. Find just what you need to help keep unruliness to a minimum and productivity to a maximum.

Who says your organizational solutions and desk accessories have to be boring? Liven up a drab workspace with stylish accents that also serve a purpose. Create a unique theme with coordinating pieces or choose colors and elements that complement your existing décor.

Best of all as a CHA member you can take advantage of the newly launch Office Depot member benefits program.  You will receive 10% off the everyday web price on everything business needs, from must-have crafting and office supplies including ink, to printing services that will help build your brand.  Office Depot has category experts and dedicated account managers that will provide you with personalized service.

For more information, visit the Office Depot Booth #2539 at the CHA’s 2017 Show or take advantage of your member savings at www.1800member.com/od-cha.

Top 5 things you need to know before you go to Creativation


This is a guest post by Angel Hickman Peterson of Fleece Fun and DIY Video for Bloggers


Whether you’re a seasoned  CHA member or a newbie who’s just barely registered this year will be everyone’s first time at Creativation!  I’ve put together a few tips ( many I wish I knew the first time I went) to make your trip to Creativation enjoyable and profitable!


Tip ! – Download the Creativation app

This app is key to having a good experience.  Not only does this app contain the show’s schedule, and list of vendors, but it also has maps, social media tracking, and downloads for courses and classes.  Once you input your schedule information it will also tell you what classes and events you have coming up.


Tip # 2 – Pack comfortable shoes

Don’t get me wrong I love trading in my daily yoga pants for my convention skirts and jewelry – but leave the heels at home.  The showroom is BIG and you’ll be on your feet for a large chunk of the day.  Wear shoes that will work for you and invest in some gel inserts.  Upside – you’ll easily make your daily steps goal on your Fitbit.


Tip #3 – Bring Business Cards

Whether you’re a blogger or the head of a major company business cards are the life blood of networking. While this process might seem antiquated – it still works!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met with someone that I wanted to connect with after the show asked for their card only to be met with a sheepish smile and excuse that they didn’t have a card.  “They didn’t arrive in time for the show… etc.”.  To be honest that slip of paper with your contact information will get lost in the bottom of my purse.  There are lots of overnight business card services – it’s worth the cost so you don’t miss out on networking opportunities.  Have a way for people to contact you – put it on a card.

Bonus tip:  I like to carry small post its and write a few notes about the person and what we talked about and stick it to the card so I can remember them later.


Tip# 4 – Have proper luggage

This is not a “carry on only” trip.  There are two reasons for this: First, you’re going to be taking home samples, lots of samples and you will need a place to put them.  Make sure you have ample space in your luggage for these. Second crafting samples don’t always agree with the TSA.  And while it’s technically legal to carry 30 metal crochet hooks in you carry on it might raise a few eyebrows (and red flags).  It’s just better to keep crafting supplies in a checked bag.  It will make your (and the TSA agents’) life easier.

When I first went to the CHA mega show I noticed while I was waiting for the exhibit hall to open that most of the people had a rolling bag.  I confess that I thought it was strange (and a little dorky).  After about 2 hours of walking the hall with my large sample filled bag digging into my shoulder, I realized the genius (and un-dorkiness) of having a rolling bag to put everything in.  It’s worth having a rolling bag to save your shoulders.


Tip #5 – Smile and say hello

I’m an introvert.  I make a concerted effort to smile and talk to people.  It’s amazing you can meet at Creativation.  It’s great to meet other creatives who have a passion for making amazing art, crafts and general awesomeness.  I think this is the most important tip out of all of them.  A smile and friendly attitude can open doors and opportunities.

NEW Deco Foil Color line, Transfer Sheets and Mixed Media Products at Therm O Web Booth #513!


Winter CHA Creativation Show is just around the corner…in fact just a few short days away in sunny Phoenix Arizona. Our team is excited to bring you brand new, innovative products that will have you thinking outside the box!

Our Deco Foil™ product line has been a success with our consumers and retailers and with that success we continue to build and grow the line. This year we’re pleased to announce 5 NEW colors to the Deco Foil™ color line. Introducing: (from left to right)

Amber, Emerald, Amethyst and Lapis Watercolors along with Summer Rainbow which is a beautiful ombre transfer foil.


With the addition of these 5 new colors that brings the total up to 31 amazing choices of Deco Foil™ Transfer Sheets. Our Transfer Sheets work beautiful with our core adhesive products: Deco Foil™ Liquid Adhesive, Deco Foil™ Foam Sheets, Deco Foil™ Hot Melt Sheets, Deco Foil™ PeelnStick Toner Sheets, Deco Foil™ Toner Sheets, Deco Foil™ Fusible Spray and our Deco Foil™ Adhesive Pen! Here are some examples of the beautiful projects you can make for both paper and fabric with our Deco Foil™ Products!


aqua canvas

Mixed Media Elephant pillow

In addition to our Deco Foil™ we have some exciting new products for Mixed Media! We’re thrilled to introduce our new iCraft® Mixed Media Adhesive and iCraft® Mixed Media Sheets available in Heavy and Lite.


Our Mixed Media Adhesive is the perfect liquid adhesive to keep on hand for all types of projects including paper, metal and fabric. Our Mixed Media sheets add a unique and dimensional texture to projects. With unlimited options of how you can work with them from stamping, inks, sprays, paints….and our light sheets can be torn for a unique look! Here’s some ideas for what you can make with these new products!

SPC Canvas details 1

Amazing Mixed Media Canvas using our NEW Heavy and Lite Sheets along with Summer Rainbow Deco Foil.

Fall Mixed Media Leaf Wreath by Audrey Yeager



Those leaves are diecut from our Mixed Media Sheets then painted and foiled!


Stunning flowers created from our Mixed Media Sheets by Audrey Pettit!

This year ThermOWeb is proud to be a sponsor for the Fashion Fusion Collaborative Challenge! We’ve joined up with fellow companies at CHA for the chance to have designers work with some of our favorite products. The participants will pair up and create either a top or an a-line skirt using a variety of products provided by the sponsors, along with an accessory. Therm O Web will be providing our Liquid Fabric Fuse™ along with our Deco Foil™ Liquid Adhesive and Transfer Sheets!

Our Liquid Fabric Fuse™ is created specifically for fashion eliminating any sewing or ironing! Here’s a video to learn more about our Fabric Fuse™ Liquid Adhesive!

blog-header-new-logo-1Be sure to stop by our Booth #513 at the show to see all of our NEWEST products! For more information about all of our products, visit us online at www.thermowebonline.com. Visit our blog for projects, tutorials and step by step instructions on how to use our products! And be sure to sign up for our newsletter to keep updated on what’s happening at Therm O Web!

Join us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter too! We’ll see you at the show!

Jo-Ann Sponsors Creativation Celebration and much more!



The 2017 Creativation Celebration sponsored by Jo-Ann Stores takes place on Saturday, January 21. Look forward to networking with creative industry professionals, witnessing recognition of industry veterans and award recipients all for a great cause — benefitting schools and students through The Kids in Need Foundation.

Join us Monday, January 23 for The Ultimate Pitch. Aspiring innovators will pitch their product to seasoned leaders in the creative industry for a chance to win a $10,000 cash prize and CHA’s Top Creative Innovation of 2017 honor. CHA Board Officer and Jo-Ann Stores’ Senior Vice President of Marketing and Omni-Channel, Chris DiTullio, will serve as a judge.

For CHA exhibitors and attendees interested in creative inspiration all year-round, visit joann.com for projects with detailed how-to’s, and our company blog, The Creative Spark, which showcases trending projects covering sewing, fashion, food crafting, home décor, party planning and more.

Share your projects with us on social by using our hashtag, #handmadewithjoann


Phoenix: The Perfect City for Creativation


This is a guest post by Kathy Cano-Murillo, Crafty Chica.

The cacti trend is still going strong, which means Creativation is on point by coming to Phoenix – a city that celebrates all things succulent!

See what I did there? Hyper-excitement will do that to you! I’m still in disbelief that Creativation is taking place in my beloved home town. My two worlds are colliding to create a giant burst of glittered happy-face confetti. I’m a third generation Phoenician, both sets of my grandparents raised their families here, as did my husband’s. My dad worked as a civil engineer for the city, proudly drafting the plans for streets and parks. Phoenix has afforded my husband and I to raise a family while making a living from our art, writing and music.

I’m loyal. Bring on the cacti!

People say the desert radiates a tinge of magic, and I believe that. Creativity thrives here. Which is why it’s perfect for those of us attending Creativation.

The Craft and Hobby Show, now known as Creativation, has always been a highlight of my annual business travels. The show helps me set intention and focus for my company for the year. Not only that, but connecting with such a fabulous group of people kickstarts my inspiration.

Just so you know, I’ve had a one-on-one pep talk with my city, I told it to come through, a lot is riding on it! And I’m happy to report, Phoenix, all sunny and flirty, offered a confident wink in return.

We got this, guys. I promise you’ll be wooed by the gorgeous January weather, the decadent concoctions from local eateries, the southwest charm, and the multi-culti artfulness. I’ve compiled a list of my personal city favorites for you to try out. These are the places where you’ll see me shopping, eating, shopping, dancing, meeting with friends, hanging out.


Lolo’s Chicken and Waffles: OMG. OMG. OMG. Homemade southern soul food that will make you bust a tear in delight. I always order the Betty Boop (a chicken breast and a waffle), with a side of cornbread. Aside from their name, you’ll also be privy to Red Velvet Cake, mac n cheese, fried catfish, Kool-Aid in every color, and my personal weakness – the banana pudding.

Welcome Diner (Garfield location): Planted smack dab in the center of a Central Phoenix neighborhood, sits this chunk of heaven. The team works their edible magic (gourmet biscuit sandwiches!) inside a refurbished 1940s nine-seat Valentine diner, while guests take a seat on the outdoor patio. What I love is it’s open until 2 a.m., perfect for that late night poutine or watermelon salad craving! Seriously, if you have a midnight craving, text me. We’ll Uber or Lyft our way there!

Short Leash Hot Dogs & Rollover Donuts (Roosevelt Location): OK, people. Think mixed media, only with hot dogs. The ingredients sound crazy, but they will make your taste buds break dance. My go-to is the BEAR: the all natural gluten/nitrate free dog comes loaded with peanut butter, smoked gouda, bacon, BBQ sauce and Cracker Jacks. CRACKER JACKS. I told you! And for a side, the fried pickles or cheese curds will lift your brows. You’re welcome.

Luci’s at The Orchard: This is an indoor-outdoor park-inspired eatery where they serve fresh baked goods, ginormous artful salads, sinful desserts, coffee, wine, ice cream, and sell whimsical finished goods. This is a great place to bring your laptop to work, have a meeting in a cool setting, sketch ideas or just daydream.

Rosita’s Place: Classic, authentic, Mexican food. This family-owned eatery is a longtime valley favorite and once you taste the rice and beans you’ll know why.

La Santisima Taco Shop: If you love Day of the Dead, Latino art, and artful Mexican food, this place will be a treat for the senses!

All in the same area: Postino for bruschetta and wine;, Joyride for crazy tacos; Windsor for steaks, fish and/or burgers, loaded chips; and Churn for everything ice cream.

My go-to downtown coffeehouses: Fair Trade Cafe, Lola Coffee, Lux Coffee.


Changing Hands Bookstore (Camelback location): This indie bookstore has two locations and is one of the gems of the city. It’s hosted events from A-list celebrity book signings to writing workshops, “drink and drawing” classes and my personal favorite, The Arizona Craft Rave (which I founded!). There is a beer and coffee bar with baked goods, kitschy gifts, and of course books for the creative mind. If you are free on the 19th, I suggest the storytelling workshop!

Frances Vintage: You’ll need a friend to go with you to this cheery shop – to stop you from buying all the local handmade goods that are as clever as they are cool. I’m talking lots of emerging trends, you’ll gasp at least half a dozen times. And here’s a bit of trivia: The daughter of the owner is a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live. If you are a fan of Aidy Bryant, you can pop in this store and tell her mom, Georgeanne, to say hi for you!

Purple Lizard Boutique: If you love Frida, Day of the Dead, loteria, and the like, check into this lively spot that is teeming with silver jewelry, shrines, wall art, books, clothing and more.

MADE Art Boutique: Closer to downtown, this former house-turned-shop features all functional locally made goods. Very edgy, trendy and oh-so-Phoenix!

SAS Fabrics for obscure and bulk textiles and craft embellishments. Arizona Art Supply for all types of mediums and supplies.

Phoenix Open Air Market: Located in the parking lot of the Phoenix Public Market (an eatery and shop), this popular community gathering runs every SAturday from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. You’ll find locally made food products, art vendors, food trucks and music performances.

Practical Art: This gallery/boutique is unique in that in order have your merchandise to be sold there, it has to be 100% handmade. From scratch. If you see a beautifully painted wood box, it’s likely the artist built it as well.


Phoenix Art Museum, Eye on Fashion: The Phoenix Art Museum is a main staple in our city and community. It’s huge compound with plenty to see and do. This fashion exhibit just opened last month and is sure to inspire.

Heritage Square: If you feel like hanging out or holding a meeting at someplace close that is lush and atmospheric, come here. The star of this corner is the Rosson House, built in 1895 and is haunted! You can take a tour to see the original furnishings, shop in the boutique, or sit and enjoy coffee or lunch at one of the four restaurants.

Arizona Latino Arts & Culture Center: Pinturas Vivas: Walking distance from the Convention Center, this Latino-themed gallery and shop has a pretty wild event taking place – a body art competition inspired by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. You’ll witness Phoenix artists showcase a variety form of temporary body art including; body paint with brush and sponge, airbrush, costuming elements and more. This is a real time, live competition event! Watch as they transform models into Frida and Diego masterpieces!

Grand Avenue or Roosevelt Row: If you are into the local art scene, clock in a stroll down one of these areas!

Crescent Ballroom: There’s always a concert going on here, or for a quieter pace, go on Sunday for brunch on the balcony to hear DJ Shane Kennedy spins some tunes.

The Rose Room at Valley Bar: Named after Rose Mofford, Arizona first female governor, this is the perfect spot if you want a neighborhood speakeasy/bar with sass. You’ll find more than 50 cocktails (all named after AZ politicians!), the usual bar munchies, a game room and if you are in the mood for a concert, you can step into the music hall next door.

Explore the Creative World of Cake, Cupcake, & Cookie Decorating at the Satin Ice Edible Arts Shoppe!


Visit the Satin Ice Edible Art Shoppe at Booth 1901 to explore the creative world of cake, cupcake, & cookie decorating! Hands-on-demos, giveaways and more… it’s too sweet to miss!

New to the world of cake decorating? You’re probably familiar with buttercream frosting, but what is fondant? Fondant is a type of sugar dough that can be rolled out to cover your cake for a sleek, smooth finish. It’s made predominantly of sugar, corn syrup, and water melted over heat and cooled to produce a dough like consistency.


Fondant is used to cover the cake and for decorating it as well. The moldable, shapeable nature of fondant makes it the perfect medium for everything from small ribbons and bows to elaborately modeled sculptures. The first step to working with fondant is to knead it to soften it up. Once softened, you can roll it out to a thin sheet or start molding it. If you’ve never used fondant before, don’t be afraid to try! It’s fun and it’s something the whole family can enjoy learning together.


If you’re in the business of dessert, adding fondant to your sweet creations can substantially increase your profitability. Whether its a small character atop a cupcake or a burst of flowers streaming down a cake, fondant opens the door to your creativity. The time and talent poured into your custom desserts will easily allow you to go from cake maker to running a profitable business.

Visit SatinIce.com for product info, tutorials, inspiration galleries and more!

JEJE Produkt Brings Exciting, New & Different Products From Europe


This is a guest post by JEJE Produkt

Attending Creativation?
Make sure to visit JEJE Produkt, booth #2526, Europe’s number one manufacturer of peel-off stickers, developer of craft techniques and craft products.


Our new Dream Catcher Peel-off’s will charm you and you can collect a free sample by visiting our booth.

Looking for something exclusive? We can make it. Eric and Elly, owners of JEJE Produkt, will be happy to give you more information to develop your own range of peel-off stickers.

Completely new: ” Marij Rahder by JEJE Produkt”.
Marij Rahder, designer and artist draws cheerful and comical characters for clear stamps, peel-off stickers, 3D booklets and we know you will love them!

We offer you:

  • New, splendid and unique products
  • Ongoing demonstrations
  • Giveaways
  • Free catalog

Like us on Facebook and send a private message before January 15 mentioning: CHA and join our CHA raffle for winning prices!

Access our online catalog here.

Watch this video to learn more.

DIY Sewing for Family, Home, Fashion & Fun – Discover Dritz® at Creativation 2017


This is a guest post by Prym Consumer USA

Sewing. It’s an old-school craft, with plenty of new-school applications. Bag making. Easy-sew curtains. Doll clothes. Home and fashion hacks. Accessories and things for your kids. These are activities you might not traditionally associate with sewing, but that’s what today’s makers are doing with needle and thread. When it comes to sewing, Dritz® is a mainstay. Yes, Dritz® is your grandma’s tomato pin cushion. But it’s so, so much more. Visit us at Creativation and see for yourself!


Our Products: Dritz® products empower you to make things you never dreamed you could. Our comprehensive product range includes tools for sewing, quilting and home decorating. Top-notch Dritz® products are easy-to-use, and allow you to accomplish a variety of DIY projects creatively and economically. At Creativation, you’ll be the first to see 50+ new fashion fasteners, tools for hand and machine sewing, and more. New to the game? No worries! We can introduce you to our standard line-up of must-have Dritz® sewing supplies.

Our Events: Experience Dritz® in action and see how easy DIY can be. We have a host of events going on in our booth (Prym Consumer #1315) allowing you to get a hands-on feel for Dritz® DIY. Come chat with our demonstrators, who will be using new and favorite Dritz® fasteners such as grommets, rivets, swivel hooks and rings. Finished projects will be displayed, providing inspiration for incorporating Dritz® into bags, accessories, device storage, clothing, items for kids and home.

Throughout Creativation, you’ll see Dritz® popping up everywhere! Find us here:

  • Fashion Fusion Collaborative Challenge (Thurs. 1/19, 11:00am, Lecture Hall/booth #1951: Fashionistas unite! At this exciting event you’ll make a garment and/or accessory. You’ll be able to use a Dritz® dressform, and talk with two of our experienced seamstresses who will be available to help you during the event.
  • Maker Space (Sat. 1/21, 1:00pm, booth #1759): Want to see sewing and jewelry collide? Make a funky bracelet using traditional sewing supplies (belting, fasteners, embroidery floss/needles). You’ll use these basic materials to make a bracelet that shows your unique style – sweet, boho, minimal, funky – it’s up to you!
  • Sewing 101 Workshop (Sun. 1/22, 11:00am, room 121D): Don’t let the word “sewing” scare you! Check out this workshop and learn about the essential tools and hardware you need to get started. You’ll pick up some time-saving tips, discover clever uses for basic products, and make some low-sew projects. Bonus: you’ll get to take some Dritz® tools home with you!
  • Pillow Talk Demonstration (Sun 1/22, 1:45pm, booth #1759): Pillows can transform pretty much any space in your home. You can change your look for a special occasion, or for the whole season with a few new pillows! During this demo, you’ll learn how to cut, shape and embellish pillows to create something fabulous regardless of your personal style. We’ll share tips for button tufting, inserting welting and trims.
  • English Paper Piecing Demonstration (Sun 1/22, 3:00pm, booth #1759): Have you heard about English Paper Piecing? Wondering what all the chatter is about? It’s an addictive way to hand sew small fabric shapes that are perfectly and precisely shaped. You can then use these fabric shapes in so many ways – accessories, fashion, quilting and more!

Our People: We’d like to meet you! Beyond the products and the demonstrations you’ll see in our booth, we’ll also have lots of friendly faces at Creativation, waiting to see YOU! Retailers, bloggers, makers, designers – if you’re engaged in sewing, quilting and DIY, please make sure to come by and say hello!

Our Digital Spaces: Like what you see at Creativation? It doesn’t end here – you can connect with Dritz® every day! You’ll find Dritz® on Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter, and our make something blog is packed with thoughtful projects and product information. The Dritz® website provides a complete online product resource for you – everything Dritz® is right at your fingertips!

Things to Remember:

  • See Dritz® in the Prym Consumer USA booth #1315
  • Getting social at Creativation? Use #Dritz and/or #DritzItYourself so we don’t miss you!

Meet the Faculty: Meet Nina Yang


Registration for Creativation University is open! Over the past several weeks, we’ve introduced you to some of our workshop teachers and seminar speakers so you can learn what to expect from taking their live classes in Phoenix this January.

This week, meet Nina Yang!


Experience the magic of simple stamping and die cutting techniques in Nina’s workshop: W221: Simple Techniques, Awesome Cards. Read our interview with Nina to learn why as a retailer you should register to take her workshop.


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello! My name is Nina Yang. I am a card maker with a passion for all things paper. Waffle Flower™ is a little adventure I embarked on to develop products that are fun, versatile and easy to use for my fellow crafters.

In a few words, tell us about the education session you’re teaching at Creativation.

My Simple Techniques, Awesome Cards workshop is all about sharing exciting techniques that you can easily teach in your store. Using our latest products, you will learn unique stamping, die cutting, coloring and card making techniques that can help you achieve amazing results in a fun and creative way.

Who and why should someone attend your session?

Are you a retailer looking for class ideas, awesome samples, or unique and versatile products? This workshop is for you! There might be a show special for you too! (😉 Wink!)

What are you looking forward to the most at Creativation in Phoenix?

I love to mingle with customers and friends (old and new!) at our booth! Waffle Flower™ will be in booth #709 this year! We can’t wait to share the many fun and exciting products we’ve been working on for you!

What do you love most about your job?

Being an entrepreneur means that you are R&D, admin, sales, marketing, logistics, accounting and MIT in one! I don’t consider this a job – I’m living my dream!

What do you love most about the creative industry?

What I love the most has to be all the wonderful, kind and talented people I’ve met in this industry! Many of them have become friends in life. They are my blessings!

Register for Nina’s workshop and our other education sessions and events at Creativation!

Meet the Faculty: Meet Natalie Wright


Registration for Creativation University is open! Over the past several weeks, we’ve introduced you to some of our workshop teachers and seminar speakers so you can learn what to expect from taking their live classes in Phoenix this January.

This week, meet Natalie Wright!


What a wonderful time of year it is to register for Natalie’s workshop: W305: What a Wonderful World with Social Artworking! In addition to being introduced to one of DecoArt’s exciting new product launches of 2017, you’ll make a show-stopping piece of art using on-trend crafts to display in your store.


Read our interview with Natalie to learn more about her and what you can expect to learn by taking her Creativation University workshop!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was genetically bred to be creative. Okay, not really, but my father was a builder, and my mother a crafter and event planner. So I naturally love getting my hands dirty and making things. I am also a lefty. Do I get bonus points for that?

My career in the creative industry has been very focused on the DIY movement. I have worked in paint and paper crafting mostly. My background is in photography, so I know how to make anything look good! I am currently working as the Education and Creative Design Manager at DecoArt. I basically get to play on my computer and paint all day. Yeah, it’s a pretty good gig. I also have a creative blog at natalme.com, and four fabulous children at home. Well, except for the last one. She’s a bit of a stinker!

In a few words, tell us about the education session you’re teaching at Creativation.

I will be teaching a Social Artworking class. This is a canvas painting class that teaches a lot of great terminology and brush knowledge to beginner artists. Paint parties are becoming more and more popular, so this will be a fabulous way to understand the trend better, and potentially become a paint party consultant. Wine will not be included in this paint party event, but what your teacher doesn’t know will never hurt her. Winking Face on Apple iOS 10.0

Who and why should someone attend your session?

Anyone can attend! Beginner or seasoned artists can have fun painting canvas art. We provide you with all the materials you need, including instruction and design. We will have staff available to help you with any questions, so it really is a fun way to create an art piece for your home or craft room, or garage if you are like me and hide all your projects at home from your husband.

What are you looking forward to the most at Creativation in Phoenix?

All of it! These are my people! I am incredibly passionate about the creative world, and I’ve made some of my dearest friends from attending CHA’s annual trade event. It’s a wonderful place to connect and meet others just like you in the industry. Although stretchy pants and Netflix are not a conference focus, if you love to create in that type of environment, you are sure to meet a new best friend at this event!

What do you love most about your job?

I am so lucky to have found a job that allows me to bring my passion and creativity to the workplace. I am involved in education initiatives, product testing, product development, and creative design. And coffee! No one at work judges me based on how much coffee I drink every day – so I really, really love that.

What do you love most about the creative industry?

I get asked all the time if I ever run out of creative energy. No way! Creativity inspires more creativity. My favorite thing about the creative industry is that I get to inspire others, and be inspired myself. Making crafty things just makes my heart happy!

Register for Natalie’s workshop and our other education sessions and events at Creativation!

Get Crafty with Fabric Editions


This is a guest post by Fabric Editions.

Tired of being labelled by your age or generation? At Fabric Editions, we have something for everyone. No matter what alphabet generation you fall into, whether you are booming or part of the millennium, we have a range of products from the timeless classics to the up and coming trends. We can’t wait to feature our fresh Pre-Cut 100% cotton fabrics at Creativation in Phoenix! The ideas and projects are endless for everyone. Whether you are looking for kid’s crafts, home dec, quilts, card making or mixed media, we have the fabric you need and the inspiration to get you started.


Come see what we have up our sleeves at booth #1853 and let us inspire you! Check out the Fashion Fusion Challenge too! We are a proud sponsor this year!

The Craftys Awards Launch New Categories with Red Heart and the Duck Brand


The Craftys, the awards celebrating the best in crafts, are getting more diverse and splashier in 2016. The event that celebrates the best in crafts is now entering its third year and continuing to expand its categories.

Given the large number of crafters who create work for newborns and toddlers, The Craftys now has a Baby Crafts award. This category not only includes booties and sweaters, but also furniture made for the nursery and even gender-reveal items. Almost any project related to welcoming an addition to the family can be considered. Red Heart Yarns, sponsor of the Baby Crafts category, will be awarding the winner $100 in yarn as well as $200 in cash.

The Duck Brand has also partnered with The Craftys to launch a Duct Tape crafts category.  Expectations are high for an impressive array of flowers, dresses and accessories, all made out of the ultra-durable material. The Duck Brand will also be awarding $200 as well as $150 in Duck Tape to the category winner.

A Geek Crafts category appeals to projects made by die-hard sci-fi fans, 3D printing enthusiasts and creators of handmade electronics. Given the popularity of wood projects in the past, a woodworking category has been added to the verticals.

The Craftys will be awarded at a live event in February of 2017 in New York City.

For more information and to check out the latest entries, go to TheCraftys.com.


Meet the Faculty: Meet Richard Garay


Registration for Creativation University is open! Over the past several weeks, we’ve introduced you to some of our workshop teachers and seminar speakers so you can learn what to expect from taking their live classes in Phoenix this January.

This week, meet Richard Garay!


Watch this video to get to know him and more about his two Creativation workshops: W103: RG Richard Garay Silver & Gold Mini Album and W112: Days Masculine Card Class.

Register for Richard’s workshops and our other education sessions and events at Creativation!

Find Demos, Giveaways & More at Clover Needlecraft’s Booth at Creativation



Make sure to stop by the Clover Booth #409 at Creativation 2017. You don’t want to miss out!

Here is what you can expect.



New Products (new product info will be made available soon)
Sewing: Press Perfect and Nancy’s Notions
Crafts: Tassel Maker, Flower Making Tools (Kanzashi Flower Maker, Flower Frill Templates)
Knitting and Crochet: Standing Oval Knitting Loom, Takumi Bamboo Knitting Needles, Amour Crochet Hooks


img3Clover Plinko… where everyone is a winner.



Make Tassels the Easy Way | Jan. 20, 2017 | 8-10am
Join us to embellish a personalized home décor pillow with tassels. Discover the many fiber options and decorations available for you to use. Our tool makes tassel-making easy, consistent, and fun!

img5Hand Embroidery for Home Décor | Jan. 22, 2017 | 11am-1pm
From vintage to modern, hand embroidery is an enduring needlecraft. Work with our markers, hoops, needles, threaders and scissors, and learn to build a great embroidery program for your shop.


Fun Scrap Yarn Projects | Jan. 22, 2017 | 3-5:30pm
Be the first to work with one of Clover’s new Winter 2017 products. No matter how many knit projects you start there’s always yarn left over! Up cycle these scraps into woven pieces. We’ll show you exactly how to do this with one of Clover’s new products


You can register for classes here. Make your search easier with these event numbers. Make Tassels the Easy Way (Event #W201), Hand Embroidery for Home Decor (Event #W404) and Fun Scrap Yarn Projects (Event #W410).

To stay connected with Clover for updates:  Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest.

Meet the Faculty: Meet John Creighton Petersen


Registration for Creativation University is open! Over the past several weeks, we’ve introduced you to some of our workshop teachers and seminar speakers so you can learn what to expect from taking their live classes in Phoenix this January.

This week, meet John Creighton Petersen!


Read our interview with John to get to know him and more about his three Creativation workshops: W226: Everyday Crafting; W503: Technique Transformation; and W303: Relics and Artifacts Shrine.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a lifelong resident of Seattle, Washington with a degree in photography. My knowledge of a variety of art mediums, including painting, calligraphy, journal and book making, collaging, beading, resin jewelry making, soldering and metalworking, has dubbed me a “Mixed Media Fusion” artist. My passion for teaching keeps me on the road several months throughout the year, sharing my knowledge and techniques with others. I’ve been an educator and designer for many high profile companies in the craft industry, including Prima Marketing, Imagine Crafts/Tsukineko, “The ICE Prince” with ICE Resin, and Authentique Paper, and an ambassador for RELICS & ARTIFACTS.

In a few words, tell us about the education session you’re teaching at Creativation.

I will be teaching three workshops at Creativation.

In two of these workshops, I will be representing Imagine Crafts/Tsukineko. We’ll explore a variety of new and innovative ways to use Tsukineko’s inks and Imagine Crafts’s products, including making your own t-shirts and other DIY projects. And of course I’ll introduce you to new products!

The other class that I will be teaching has been talked about for a couple of years and is finally going to happen – I will be teaching alongside my dear friend and amazing mixed media artist Debby Anderson! This is going to be a truly amazing class incorporating both of our styles and techniques using the RELICS & ARTIFACTS line of products from Sandra Evertson, who will also be making an appearance in class!

Who and why should someone attend your session?

I always design my classes to be approachable for any skill level. I often take more complex projects and try to translate them into finished pieces that you can be proud of while showing new techniques and how to use products. It’s this hands-on experience that allows you to share this knowledge with your own students and customers.

What are you looking forward to the most at Creativation in Phoenix?

I always look forward to attending this show every year – meeting new people and of course catching up with familiar faces. Whenever I attend this show, I’m filled with the creative energy that can only be found when surrounded by so much inspiration and I always head home excited to start new projects with renewed energy!

What do you love most about your job?

I love being able to share my knowledge with others.  I often say that my role as an educator is like that of a tool box. My job is to show you how to successfully use those tools to create works of art! Many students are apprehensive about working in mixed media, especially for the first time. I try to create a learning environment that promotes creativity and experimentation and I am always surprised by what students create!

What do you love most about the creative industry?

I have been in this industry for over 15 years and have developed many deep, long lasting relationships. This industry is quite unique – there are not many industries that foster creativity, celebrate new and innovative ideas, and give individuals the freedom to be themselves and a platform to express that. We are an industry that supports one another and is continually evolving, and we should all be proud of how truly special it is that we all have the opportunity to be part of this!

Register for John’s workshops and our other education sessions and events at Creativation!

Get inspired by visiting John’s website where you can find his teaching schedule, tutorials and blog. Follow him through social media channels via the “artnewwave”.

CHA Influencers & How To Connect With Them


This is a guest post by Simone Collins, DoItMakeItLoveIt.com

New for 2016 in the Craft and Hobby Association family is the development of an Influencer Program. This exciting new program utilizes popular craft and DIY bloggers’ influence to help shape the industry and the organization. These talented, creative, and passionate bloggers will be in full force at Creativation in January. Walking the show floor, the Influencers will be reporting on the hot new trends for 2017, connecting with brands, and experiencing some of the fun new events at the show.

The Influencer group has already been creating great content for attendees based on their personal experiences like Why Bloggers Should Attend Creativation and Why You Want To Be a CHA Designer Member. They are attracting new blogger and designer CHA members who will help the organization grow even more. Reporting from Creativation, they will be sharing content from all over the show using the hashtags #CHAShow and #Creativation, so that you can follow along. If you are a new exhibitor, have a new product launching at the show, or would like to meet them, feel free to reach out before the show to set up a time to meet.

Meet the Influencers –

Kathy Cano-Murillo


Blog: CraftyChica.com

Favorite Social Media Platform: Snapchat (@craftychica)

At Creativation, I’m most excited about: Seeing the show reinvented and refreshed, I can’t wait for all the new features!

Fun Fact: I write novels and short fiction about crafty women.



Jen Goode


Blog: 100Directions.com

Favorite Social Media Platform: Instagram

At Creativation, I’m most excited about: Seeing all the creative inspiration: new products, project ideas and talking with the people behind it all.

Fun Fact: I still love coloring and drawing with markers or pens with fun fruity scents.


Amanda Formaro


Blog: CraftsbyAmanda.com

Favorite Social Media Platform: Facebook

At Creativation, I’m most excited about: Essentially being a roving reporter and showing my crafty audience all the new goodies that are coming to a store near them!

Fun Fact: I was born in England, not the United States like most people assume.


Angel Hickman-Peterson


Blog: FleeceFun.com

Favorite Social Media Platform: YouTube

At Creativation, I’m most excited about: Meeting new people!  I love making new contacts and being inspired by all the wonderful makers and designers.

Fun Fact: I love going to the movies.  I especially love movie theater popcorn – It’s a must have when I go see the latest flick!


Angie Holden


Blog: TheCountryChicCottage.com

Favorite Social Media Platform: Pinterest 

At Creativation, I’m most excited about: I love seeing all of the latest innovations in the craft industry.

Fun Fact:  I was an engineer up until this past summer when I quit my job to blog full time.



Amber Kemp-Gerstel



Blog: DamaskLove.com

Favorite Social Media Platform: Instagram

At Creativation, I’m most excited about: The classes! I’m excited to learn some new techniques with brands like Sizzix and Lawn Fawn.

Fun Fact: I speak fluent pig latin! Not kidding.


Carolina Moore


Blog: 30MinuteCrafts.com

Favorite Social Media Platform: Pinterest

At Creativation, I’m most excited about: I’m most excited to see new products not yet on shelves.

Fun Fact: English is not my first language! Though I have lived in the US most of my life, I was born in the Netherlands, and Dutch was my first language. I always love running into other Dutch folks on the tradeshow floor to get a chance to speak a little of my native tongue.


Adrianne Surian


Blog: HappyHourProjects.com

Favorite Social Media Platform: YouTube

At Creativation, I’m most excited about: EVERYTHING. Primarily the networking and checking out new products but specifically I’m pumped about the fashion fusion challenge.

Fun Fact: My career as a writer and author actually got started writing terrible fiction novels! I have proudly written FIVE bad first drafts of fantasy and mainstream fiction. Blogging was only an extension of my love of writing when I started in 2011, but I realized I had a knack for explaining techniques and step by step projects related to my other passion – art and crafts – much better than my previous attempts at writing. I started focusing on blogging instead of noveling, and two books later, I ave been able to turn my passion, writing, into a real career.


Heather Valentine


Blog: TheSewingLoft.com

Favorite Social Media Platform: Facebook

At Creativation, I’m most excited about: If I had to pick just one thing, it would be that I’m pretty pumped to see the creative mind at work. I know there will be so many new products, cool designers and eye candy around every corner. Not to mention the fashion challenge… I can’t wait to see what the contestants make. I’m pretty sure the entire event is going to be a creative whirlwind and will leave me with a ton of new ideas.

Fun Fact: Well, it’s not sewing related but I’m a sucker for crazy socks and am fueled by milk duds.


Hannah and Rosie



Blog: TheNewCraftHouse.com

Favorite Social Media Platform: Instagram

At Creativation, I’m most excited about: Meeting lots of US crafters and businesses for the first time!

Fun Fact: We’ve both been friends since school and used to knit on the school bus together.


Simone Collins


Blog: DoItMakeItLoveIt.com

Favorite Social Media Platform: Instagram 

At Creativation, I’m most excited about: Seeing all the new exhibitors and new products. Seeing the amazing products first and connecting with those brands is invaluable.

Fun Fact: When I was eight years old, I quit Brownie Scouts because I thought we did too many crafts. Look at me now!

Meet the Faculty: Meet Tracy Moreau


Registration for Creativation University is open! Over the past several weeks, we’ve introduced you to some of our workshop teachers and seminar speakers so you can learn what to expect from taking their live classes in Phoenix this January.

This week, meet Tracy Moreau!


Read our interview with Tracy to get to know her and more about her Creativation workshop, W401: Home Décor For Indoors and Out.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a multimedia artist, author and educator with 35+ years of experience! I love anything creative, but my favorite thing is DIY! From hand painting and detailing furniture, to upcycling and recycling items for my home, I love making home décor my own!

I have been working with DecoArt for more than 16 years. I enjoy sharing and teaching everything I know about the best creative products in the world!

In a few words, tell us about the education session you’re teaching at Creativation.

My workshop is all about flexibility! We’ll use soft surfaces to demonstrate the versatility of some simple techniques to create awesome home décor items for indoors and out! We’ll also use a variety of products from DecoArt’s Americana Decor, generate plenty of great ideas, and most of all have fun!

Who and why should someone attend your session?

Who should take my class? Anyone who LOVES DIY or markets to those who do! This is a chance to learn about and play with some amazing NEW products, and acquire techniques that will help you market them well! Simple, but effective is my mantra for this workshop!

What are you looking forward to the most at Creativation in Phoenix?

Creativation is literally a wellspring of inspiration!! Sharing my own and learning from others, it helps me develop as a designer and strengthen my skill set! I highly recommend that designers from all disciplines attend!

What do you love most about your job?

What do I love about my job? I get to play for a living! Do what you LOVE and you never work a day in your life! What could be better?

What do you love most about the creative industry?

The creative industry is driven by innovation, and innovation is driven by creativity. I LOVE the dynamic of having a hand in the development of new products; in helping others find their own brand of creativity; and sharing all of it! This is a rewarding and FUN industry to work in!

Register for Tracy’s workshop and our other education sessions and events at Creativation!

Meet the Faculty: Meet Wyatt White


Registration for Creativation University is open! Over the next several weeks, we’ll introduce you to some of our workshop teachers and seminar speakers so you can learn what to expect from taking their live classes in Phoenix this January.

This week, meet Wyatt White!


Read our interview with Wyatt to get to know him and more about his Creativation workshop, W111: Bangle and Cuff Bracelets.


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have been in the jewelry industry since 1982 when I got my first job, and have been here ever since.  I am currently the Product Manager and Education Director at Beadalon/Artistic Wire, where my energy is focused mostly on product development and education. I continue to make jewelry mostly for company use, and knot pearls for friends and clients.

In a few words, tell us about the education session you’re teaching at Creativation.

This workshop will teach you the variations of using our 2015 CHA Hot Product Winner in Jewelry, the 3D Bracelet jig. You’ll make bangle bracelets and cuff bracelets decorated with beads, charms and cording, which can be used as samples to show your customers. You’ll also learn our cold connections technique, attaching two wire ends securely without soldering or wrapping the ends together.

Who and why should someone attend your session?

Anyone interested in learning some great new tricks on how to quickly and successfully enter the jewelry making market!

What are you looking forward to the most at Creativation in Phoenix?

How attendees respond to our new products for 2017. Beadalon was fortunate to win the Hot Product Award in the Jewelry category for new products in both 2015 and 2016. I also can’t wait to see what the CHA team has in store in the creative city they created and the rebirth of the trade show.

What do you love most about your job?

Bringing completely new products to market that help people make better, faster and more professional looking jewelry.

What do you love most about the creative industry?

The amazing people I get to meet and befriend. There’s just nothing better than the people in this industry!

Click here to register for this seminar and our other education sessions and events at Creativation!

Meet the Faculty: Meet Shanna Noel


Registration for Creativation University is open! Over the next several weeks, we’ll introduce you to some of our workshop teachers and seminar speakers so you can learn what to expect from taking their live classes in Phoenix this January.

This week, meet Shanna Noel!


Shanna is the creative genius behind Illustrated Faith and the Bible journaling community. If you’re not aware of these products or you’re not sure how to market them to your customers, her workshop at Creativation is for you! Register for W224: Bible Art Journaling with Illustrated Faith and Shanna Noel to learn about the meaning behind this creative movement as well as new products and techniques using creative tools and supplies.

Read our interview with Shanna to get to know her and more about her Creativation workshop.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have always had a passion for capturing little details I want to remember 10 years from now. I fell in love when I first discovered paper scrapbooking in the summer of 2012; however, I never really felt meaning for what I was creating until I started using my journaling Bible. I was extremely nervous to share my new form of worship, as I wasn’t sure how people would react to it. Looking back, I am so glad I listened to the whisper that God put in my heart and shared it with you all. It has been a wildfire that just keeps growing since the moment I published that first post on my blog in early 2014. By sharing documenting my faith in my Bible, it turned the light bulb on for so many women – “YES! It’s okay to use the gifts God has given you to glorify HIM!”

In a few words, tell us about the education session you’re teaching at Creativation.

My workshop is all about how to share the world of Bible art journaling with your customers and host Illustrated Faith workshops at your store or workshop space with my “7 Steps Approach”. We’ll use hands-on Bible Journaling techniques with Illustrated Faith’s product line and Bella Blvd, including tools and creative supplies.

Who and why should someone attend your session?

Retailers and distributors should take my workshop to understand why and how consumers should illustrate their faith with the products alongside Bella Blvd.

What are you looking forward to the most at Creativation in Phoenix?

I’m looking forward to seeing and meeting my customers who are helping spread the awesome techniques and word of Illustrated Faith!

What do you love most about your job?

I love being able to share my passion with others that ultimately shares the story of the Lord. I love that each person I meet through workshops and through business at Illustrated Faith experiences their own personal journey.

What do you love most about the creative industry?

The excitement and the passion that exists!

Click here to register for this seminar and our other education sessions and events at Creativation!

Why you want to be a CHA Designer Member


This is a guest post by Jen Goode, 100 Directions.

I joined the Craft and Hobby Association as a Designer member in 2010 and have loved getting involved. Over the years my craft know-how has grown and so has my business. My CHA membership has provided me fantastic opportunities… let me tell you what I love about it.

As a Designer member, I’ve been able to enjoy benefits of the Designer Section, a community for creative professionals to network, collaborate and work with other members in the industry including manufacturers and craft retailers. I’ve lead discussions during the Designer round table session on education day. My art has been displayed through various Designer specific events like the new Designer Cafe during the upcoming trade show. Collaborating with some of the best brands in the business has definitely been a result of the connections made on the show floor during various CHA events. There’s no better opportunity to meet the companies that make the products we love to create with than the Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show aka Creativation.


You might be asking, What is a CHA Designer Member?

There’s a variety of different membership types. The CHA Designer Members are creative professionals that work with craft brands to help teach, promote and build awareness. They create art for licensing, demonstrate product use and techniques, help develop products and project ideas with industry brands and consult on a variety of design and promotion related topics. CHA Designer Members bring great value to the organization on so many levels and in turn, the organization provides a place for community, networking and growth for the Designers that get involved.

One of my favorite CHA Designer benefits is getting involved in the Designer Display. This year the event has been renamed to the Designer Cafe. This is a gallery and networking style presentation set up to showcase designer work, located on the exhibit floor during the entire trade show. Designers can sign up for different display options depending on the kind of work they’d like to feature. I’ve been able to show off illustration and project design from my portfolio, demonstrate some of my design skills and techniques during live demos and network with other CHA members during a special meet-n-greet. I have also found many connections for work by participating in this event. It’s a great opportunity to build business relationships during the CHA show. These same opportunities and benefits are open to all Designer Members. You can get involved in so many different facets of the organization. Join in and share ideas or sit back and take it all in.


If you are looking for more opportunities to learn, network or connect, CHA Designer members get the best of all worlds. Your badge will allow you to attend a wide variety of classes, workshops and presentations. You can teach, show off your art, work in a brand’s booth, participate in show floor activities and connect with other designer members. Check out all the benefits a CHA membership has to offer.

In over 6 years as a CHA Designer Member, I’m still excited to be a part of this organization. I look forward to attending the winter show and connecting with old and new friends. It’s so much fun to explore new ideas and encourage others to make something. I hope to see you there!

Meet the Faculty: Meet Sidney Church


Registration for Creativation University is open! Over the next several weeks, we’ll introduce you to some of our workshop teachers and seminar speakers so you can learn what to expect from taking their live classes in Phoenix this January.

This week, meet Sidney Church!


Sidney is partnering with Michael Mayne, founder of Kin Community, to hold one of our iDiscover Chats titled, Making Their Way Home & Maker Space: What the Heck Is It? Sign up for Sidney’s seminar to learn how a maker space is relevant to your creative business, whether you or your customers do or don’t identify as makers.

Read our interview with Sidney to get to know him and more about his Creativation seminar.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Sidney Church and I’m the Electronics Zone Manager at CREATE at the Arizona Science Center.

In a few words, tell us about the education session you’re teaching at Creativation. 

I’ll be giving a seminar on what the heck a maker space is and how it’s good for business.

Who and why should someone attend your session?

Anyone interested in finding out what goes on in a maker space or wondering why these spaces are starting to pop up everywhere – especially those who have never heard of a maker space before.

What are you looking forward to the most at Creativation in Phoenix?

Edible arts!

What do you love most about your job?

My job allows me to expose people who have never even seen 3D printers or laser cutters to these technologies. For a creative person, these become fantastic tools that allow you to take your projects to the next level. I also get to see people who don’t feel like they’re creative realize that they can make things relatively easily with computer numerical controlled (CNC) equipment. It can open up a new world for some people.

What do you love most about the creative industry?

It’s an ever growing and expanding industry. This also means that more and more people want to make things, which is amazing. It’s exciting to see what new technologies become available to the home consumer that will help her or him make new and awesome things that have never been seen before.

Click here to register for this seminar and our other education sessions and events at Creativation!

You Won’t Believe What’s Next for Eclectic Products


This is a guest post by Eclectic Products Inc.

We are excited about the upcoming CHA show, Creativation, and can’t wait to get to Phoenix in January to see everyone, be inspired, and maybe even share a brand new product that we believe will be the talk of the show (Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone!)

Eclectic Products has a collection of brands and products consumers love and trust, like E6000, Amazing Goop, Shoe Goo, Allure, and Glaze Coat.  We know that you spend a tremendous amount of time and creativity bringing your inspirational visions to life, so we make sure all our products are made to the highest quality and performance standards to ensure your vision becomes the reality you desire.

We love hearing stories about how one of our E6000 products, or Allure, or Glaze Coat allowed you to make something that you never thought possible.  We look forward to hearing more of those stories at Creativation!  Come see us at booth #1055 and inspire us!

One of the things we love to do is meet folks face to face and demonstrate what some of our products do and have our experts answer questions.  This year, we will be sharing our Glaze Coat High-Gloss Craft Resin, and sharing ideas that will get your creative wheels rolling!  Glaze Coat Craft is ideal for creating beautiful jewelry, amazing craft furniture and tables, beautifying clocks, picture frames, embedding keepsakes, making bed trays, jewelry boxes, plaques  & much more!  Our resin is a very durable, waterproof and acid-free finish that allows you to create heirloom quality projects that have a hard, smooth professional finish.  Come by and see for yourself.  We think you will walk away with some new ideas about how to create even more spectacular projects!

And speaking of something new…… if you come see us at booth #1055, we will let you in on our newest secret…… It’s a new product that we are VERY excited about sharing that is not anywhere in the marketplace!  We don’t want to say too much yet, but it allows anyone to turn ordinary objects into personalized masterpieces!  It is almost limitless in its uses, and can be used on wood, glass, metal, fabric, pottery, concrete, laminate and most any other substrate!  Truly, the only limit is your imagination!  We are “Spitting Excited” to get this into everyone’s hands and see where the creativity takes you…..


We are so excited to see everyone at Creativation in Phoenix in January!  Come to Eclectic Products at booth #1055 and let us show you what everyone will be talking about for the rest of the show!  See you in the desert!

Meet the Faculty: Meet Eloise Wagers


Registration for Creativation University is open! Over the next several weeks, we’ll introduce you to some of our workshop teachers and seminar speakers so you can learn what to expect from taking their live classes in Phoenix this January.

This week, meet Eloise Wagers!


Hand embroidery is the perfect solution for vintage and modern home décor! Join Eloise in her workshop, W404: Hand Embroidery for Home Décor, to learn how to build a great embroidery program for your shop using Clover Needlecraft’s markers, hoops, needles, threaders and scissors.


Read our interview with Eloise to get to know her and more about her Creativation workshop.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a former public junior high school and adult education teacher. Since, I’ve spent many years employed with various companies in the craft industry in management and sales. I love sharing my knowledge and the importance of learning crafts for our well-being. Garment sewing and knitting are my favorite pastime activities, along with a pursuit of fashion forward trends.

In a few words, tell us about the education session you’re teaching at Creativation. 

Embroidery stitches are fun to do and create unique designs. With so many threads and yarns in a myriad of colors and textures, why not use these talents to embellish items for your home? There is something gratifying and relaxing about hand stitching!

Who and why should someone attend your session?

Anyone who would like to learn or relearn some basic embroidery stitches in order to add artistic touches to projects for home environment enjoyment.

What are you looking forward to the most at Creativation in Phoenix?

I’m looking forward to see new products and tools that have been developed for crafts and get inspiration for new projects. The booths are always great to visit and see companies’ complete product offerings as well as meet with their personnel.

What do you love most about your job?

I love the opportunity to learn, share my knowledge and inspire others to enjoy the benefits of developing fun, creative projects.

What do you love most about the creative industry?

There is always some new tool or product that I have to try! I love getting new ideas for future projects, too, but most of all, I love the opportunity to mingle with my industry peers, friends and colleagues!

Project Runway Contestant to Host The After Party at Creativation!


When Faber-Castell offered Valerie Mayen the opportunity to be part of our Fashion Fusion Collaborative Challenge, she couldn’t resist. Valerie signed on to host the fashion show at The After Party, where the winners of our Fashion Fusion Collaborative Challenge get to walk the runway and meet her!

If you’re like most of us and have been a fan of Project Runway, then you already know of Valerie Mayen.

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Valerie made her own personal “Project Runway” long before the reality television series was a gleam in some cable TV producer’s eye. As a child, she turned hand-me-downs into coveted fashions.

In 2008, she started her own design business, Yellowcake, and created an online presence for her work.  Her garments were well-received and gained national attention on the award winning reality series Project Runway where she competed to much praise in Season 8. She earned her spot in the top six of 17 designers, designing through 11 out of 14 episodes, and winning a showcase at New York Fashion Week in September of 2010, which earned her recognition by national celebrities and stylists. Valerie was asked to come back to Project Runway and competed in the All-Stars Season 5 which aired early 2016.

Sign up to participate in our Fashion Fusion Collaborative Challenge to learn how crafts meet fashion design and for a chance to meet Valerie! Only a limited number of spots are available, so register today!

Here’s to the Start of a Beautiful Friendship


This is a guest post by Vital Imagery.

Making new friends is nice. They bring us different perspectives and experiences. They are confidantes, providing the ear and advice we occasionally need. They support us, share the good times, and work with us.

The same is true of friends in business. Brainstorming opportunities and a strong union are integral for building success into the future. Connecting with companies that complement your own, forming partnerships that inspire growth are extremely beneficial in today’s competitive market.

At Vital Imagery Ltd. (VI), we’re excited about the new ‘Affinity’ relationship with the Craft and Hobby Association and absolutely thrilled to be offering CHA members a great value on quality images for use in products and projects that are only limited by one’s imagination. Given that CHA is the largest creative and craft organization in the world, we suspect there will be no bounds to what its talented membership will do with this resource.

An online subscription graphics industry leader, VI is the parent company of several popular websites, including Clipart.com, iCLIPART.com, iPHOTOS.com and Animation Factory. All boast diverse content for creative success, and CHA members are now able to subscribe to the one of their choice or bundle up for optimal benefit at exclusive/discounted rates. Just visit the CHA Member Benefits page under Vital Imagery to view the various discount codes and make sure you’re logged in.


In addition to having one of the world’s largest collections of wholly-owned content, VI’s royalty-free photos, illustrations and animations are fresh and original. As we like to say, “We help you do great work.”

Each site, not unlike a circle of friends, has a unique personality. The eldest ‘family’ member is actually one of the most recent to be welcomed into the fold. A pioneer in the business, Clipart.com was acquired by VI in the early part of 2014. With thousands of new images being added to freshen the content, subscribers to this site have access to over 13,000,000 downloadable photos, illustrations, animations and fonts.

iCLIPART.com is the world’s number one royalty-free clipart subscription site with over 8 million images. Besides the fact that the vast majority of its illustrations are available in vector formats, it also offers photos, fonts, sounds, web graphics, animations and video.


For small business, iPHOTOS.com is the perfect place to go when looking for print-quality photographs in sizes from small to X Super. With an incredible virtual warehouse of over five million images, there is something perfect for every requirement.


With over 600,000 animations, 3D clipart, HD videos, PowerPoint templates and backgrounds, Animation Factory is the number one 3D animation subscription site. No question. Bumping the entertainment factor, this site offers a wonderful variety of images to enhance designs and presentations.

No matter what the choice, one thing is certain. From scrapbooking to photography, having a cost-effective resource for accessing images is as great a boon to creative businesses as having good pals is to our personal lives. “We feel sure that this new relationship between VI and CHA is going to be the start of a productive and long-lasting friendship.”

Meet the Faculty: Meet Dana Walsh


Registration for Creativation University is open! Over the next several weeks, we’ll introduce you to some of our workshop teachers and seminar speakers so you can learn what to expect from taking their live classes in Phoenix this January.

This week, meet Dana Walsh!


Calling all creative entrepreneurs! Join Dana Walsh of Weebly for a hands-on lab where you’ll create your website or online store in one night. Dana will help you design your website or store for optimal customer experiences. You’ll learn to design and master SEO, while enjoying a beer or wine!

Read our interview with Dana to get to know her and more about her Creativation workshop.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Dana Walsh and I am the event and community coordinator at Weebly. Weebly has three office locations: Scottsdale, New York City and San Francisco. I’m based in New York City, but I have the opportunity to travel across the country and meet and work with some of our 30 million users.

In a few words, tell us about the education session you’re teaching at Creativation.

Our Weebly team is going to help anyone get online with a free website, blog or online store in one night. We will be helping people with e-commerce, SEO, email marketing and so much more. Get the one-on-one help you need.

Who and why should someone attend your session?

Small business owners, students, bloggers and anyone that wants to start a website, blog or online store EASILY!

What are you looking forward to the most at Creativation in Phoenix?

We are excited to get to work one-on-one with Weebly users and those who are new to the product. It is one the most rewarding feelings to see the excitement on someone’s face when he/she hits “publish” and his/her website is live.

What do you love most about your job?

One of my favorite things about my job is getting to work with Weebly users all over the United States. I get to spend a great deal of time interacting with their websites on a daily basis. Although, when I get to host an event and meet the small online business owner in person, it is a humbling honor.

Experience Paint like Never Before with DecoArt


This is a guest post by DecoArt.

Preparation for the next CHA show seems to begin the moment we’ve unpacked our bags from the last one. Like you, we return full of ideas and inspiration that makes us want to hit the ground running innovating for next year’s show. There’s something about that much creativity all coming together under one roof that really motivates us to think again about ideas that might have been previously discarded as “too risky” or “too early for the market.”

With over half the year behind us, we assure you the entire company has been buzzing like Santa’s workshop on Christmas Eve to develop our new product offerings for the 2017 launch in Phoenix. Make sure you stop by our booth, #1233 to visit your old friends like Americana, Gloss Enamels, and the Americana Décor product family and see what new items we have to offer.

We have lots to share and will gladly give you a personalized tour of our booth. While there, you should rest your feet while doing one of our many make-it-take-its that will offer you a hands-on experience with our product lines. The instructors are full of knowledge and enthusiasm for our products so make sure you take advantage of your time at the tables and pepper them with questions!

We are also happy to announce that world-renowned mixed media artist, Andy Skinner will be back with us offering education on our Media line and demonstrating some of his tricks-of-the-trade with you. Make sure you visit our website ahead of time to watch his Media tutorial videos. If you weren’t already a mixed media artist, we are certain you will want to at least try it out after seeing Andy work his magic in our booth.


But hanging out in the booth isn’t the only thing we will be doing at the show. Check out some of our sponsored events as well!


Splatter Room – It’s exactly what it sounds like! You, bottles of paint, and some blank canvases positioned across the room will create some fun and unique art with just a tiny bit of mess. Don’t worry! We will make sure your fancy show duds are covered before you enter the Splatter Room. Even if you don’t want to participate, make sure you walk by to see the finished paintings displayed and to watch the fun in person!

Paint & Sip = While there, you can also check out the Paint & Sip event where students will be walked through painting a simple canvas in a relaxing atmosphere.

From all of us here at team DecoArt, we can’t wait to see you at the show! If you can’t make it be sure and follow along with us on our blog and social media platforms to get behind-the-scenes looks as well as plenty of on-the-ground video footage and candid photos of all the fun.

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Meet the Faculty: Meet Kim Bell


Registration for Creativation University is open! Over the next several weeks, we’ll introduce you to some of our workshop teachers and seminar speakers so you can learn what to expect from taking their live classes in Phoenix this January.

This week, meet Kim Bell.


If your goal is to learn more about sewing and sewing techniques, then Kim’s workshop, Sewing Notions 101 is for you. Kim will teach you useful and unique sewing tools and hardware, explain how to use them, and let you give them a try! Plus, you’ll take some of the tools home with you.


Read our interview with Kim to get to know her and more about her Creativation workshop.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My mother is a sewer and I became interested at a very young age. I started to make my own clothes at age nine and went on to receive a degree in Home Economics Education. I have been in the creative industry for over 20 years.  Currently, I am a Product Specialist for Prym Consumer USA. My goal is to teach others about sewing and hopefully transfer that love of creating to them.

In a few words, tell us about the education session you’re teaching at Creativation.

Have you ever stared at the sewing notions wall in your local store and asked – What are all these tools used for? Why are there so many different pins and needles? We’ll answer those questions and more during Sewing Notions 101. It will be a great introduction to our wide range of sewing products. We’ll be making some simple projects while we learn about the many uses of sewing tools.

Who and why should someone attend your session?

Beginning sewers and those who want to learn more about sewing should register.

What are you looking forward to the most at Creativation in Phoenix?

I am looking forward to meeting lots of creative people, and hearing and seeing their great ideas.

What do you love most about your job?

I get to express myself creatively and share my knowledge with others.

What do you love most about the creative industry?

Innovation; just when you think it has all been thought of or there’s no better way to do something, someone has another great idea!

Welcome to PHOENIX! Home of Spellbinders and a creative community like no other


This is a guest post by Spellbinders.

There is not a more beautiful place on the planet in January than Phoenix, Arizona. With the mild temperatures to ease your stress, colorful sunsets to take your breath away and the unique mountains, rocks and cactus that adorn the landscape you will forever be enchanted by its creativity and brilliance.

The Arizona environment inspires a one-of-a-kind region that is home to countless companies, artists and Native American Tribes that embrace creativity and self-expression as a way of life. The CHA team could have also not picked a better place to host its annual convention because among the inspiring environment you can walk to amazing restaurants and entertainment to enhance your show experience. It’s only fitting that the all-new Creativation show will be hosted by such an amazing and dynamic city.


The sun sets between the Saguaros Cacti, in the Sonoran Desert, a desert home to the cultures of over 17 contemporary Native American tribes.

It’s no secret that the craft industry is in it’s own evolution and needs to look at how we speak to our customers and people who desire to be creative alike. As creative individual businesses and collectively as an industry, we cannot continue to do the same things, in the same places, the same way and expect different results. We must embrace our history, love our core customers and lead our industry into the future. If there is to be a craft/creative industry tomorrow we must embrace and teach the millennial’s today that the ink, the paper, the fabric, the metal and the techniques of the Craft past are the fuel for the Maker future. Creativity knows no limits, no age boundaries, no style limitations, no medium or surface is sacred, and creativity is inside out. That is where we came from and that is where we are going.

It is with Phoenix as a backdrop that we must collectively recognize that now is the time to embrace the new name of the show, enjoy the adventure of a new host city, tackle the challenges ahead of our industry with new ways of doing things and speak to new consumers while cherishing our core and the beautiful past we created together. The limitations of the future of our industry are only the limitations that we collectively allow ourselves to have.

That is the future of the craft industry and that is the future of Spellbinders. No matter what your thoughts or pre-conceptions are about Spellbinders as a company, they are wrong. We are working harder than ever to embrace our heritage and past while also reaching out to new users, new creative types and teach people “craft” is not a dirty word and “maker” is not a new word. Creativity and self-expression bonds us generationally and unites a passion for baby boomers and generations X, Y and Z.

Join us at the first ever CREATIVATION 2017 Show at booth #419 to see how we are evolving with amazing new licensed designers, stunning projects made from our user friendly products and embrace creativity, young or old, simple or sophisticated the passion to make and the joy to share will make Phoenix in January the time that changed your belief in what is possible and what you can do about it.


Meet the Faculty: Meet Julia Sandvoss


Registration for Creativation University is open! Over the next several weeks, we’ll introduce you to some of our workshop teachers and seminar speakers so you can learn what to expect from taking their live classes in Phoenix this January.

This week, meet Julia Sandvoss, Director of Education and Social Media at Therm O Web. You’ll create unique projects in Julia’s workshop, Therm O Web Mixed Media and Deco Foil™, using Therm O Web’s new mixed media sheets, which can be inked, stamped, sprayed, printed, foiled and more!

Watch this video to learn more about Julia and this mixed media project at Creativation!

There’s so much more to crafting than just…. well, crafting.

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Create Something that Speaks to You

Hello AFCI Community!

Anna_500x500I’m so excited about this opportunity to share my Made Soulful blog and personal story with you! Let me introduce myself 😊 My name is Anna Teal and I’m a southern native who finds joy in anything creative. My crafting obsession started when I was young. From mixing and matching color palettes, to sketching a high fashion wardrobe, to attending craft fairs with my mother, I knew creativity would be a major part of my life. As an adult, my journey brought me to a career in crafts. I now work with many big names in the craft industry, such as Plaid, Martha Stewart, and Waverly. When I’m not producing and managing content at Plaid, which is my full-time gig, I enjoy thinking of new ways to inspire readers through organic, real life crafting solutions and advice. Whether it’s up-cycling furniture or creating unique home decor pieces to share with my readers, I feel truly blessed to do what I love every day.

Speaking of the everyday, my Made Soulful blog developed out of my desire to inspire and teach others that they don’t have to settle for empty, run-of-the-mill home decor. Too often, I found myself in stores, like Home Goods, Ross, World Market, and various other retail stores, where I saw pieces I liked, but I didn’t love or I found myself thinking, “Wow, I can totally make that for less.” I’m a huge advocate of curating meaningful items to fill your home. These items should inspire you daily and speak to your soul (Hence, my blog name, Made Soulful). For example, I just finished up a sign for my kitchen, which you can see below, that says, “Happiness is Cherry Pie.” This type of thing is typically difficult to find in stores and this phrase carries special meaning to me.


In addition to being a craft DIYer, I’m also a pie maker. I got into making pies after my grandmother passed a few years ago. I have so many fond memories of her and I making pies together. So, I thought I would carry on the pie making legacy. It’s been a great experience for me and my family to remember those we love and to create new memories together.


Cherry pies hold a special place in my heart because it’s my husband’s and father’s favorite dessert. It’s the best feeling in the world to see the pure joy on their faces when I present them with a homemade cherry pie! So, I created a sign to adorn my kitchen to evoke this happy emotion every time I look at it. This example is the core of what I believe when it comes to DIY experiences. Surround yourself with things that represent who you are, what you love, and have fun in the process 😊


I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my Made Soulful journey! I’m so thrilled to be a part of the AFCI community! I’m looking forward to building new relationships, making new friends, and growing my business in the craft and hobby industry.

If you’d like to learn more about how to create something that speaks to you, please follow me on my blog: www.madesoulful.com and any of my social channels listed below!

I: www.instagram.com/madesoulful
F: www.facebook.com/madesoulful
T: www.twitter.com/madesoulful

Learn more about membership with AFCI here.

31 Days of Crafting: Creating Tradition

March is National Craft Month! All month long we’ll be sharing stories from your peers about what they are doing to celebrate and how they are encouraging others to discover the benefits of creativity.

This is a guest post from AFCI Staff, Keri Cunningham.

Every month is craft month in our house!  Crafting with my three year old daughter, Mae, is one of my favorite things to do.   We started crafting as soon as she could sit up straight in her highchair.  I’ve always had an interest in creative activities and was excited to be able to pass that along to my daughter.

She has quickly grown into a spunky toddler full of curiosity which still makes crafting a perfect activity.   Currently she loves to paint and make things out of Play-doh.


We will be celebrating National Craft Month by using the craft kits she received for her birthday. We are also excited to try some DIY slime making.  Wish us luck!



Keri coloring with Mae when she was a baby!

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.