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.