Meet the Instructor – Cindi Bisson

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Registration for the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show is open! Over the next several weeks, we’ll be introducing you to some of our Workshop instructors so you can hear about their live classes and what you can expect to learn from them.

cindibissonThis week, we meet Cindi Bisson. Cindi will be teaching the Workshop, “At the Beach” Mixed-Media Canvas. Join her to create a mixed media home décor canvas, and learn various tips and techniques for using Makin’s Clay® tools, Makin’s® Push Molds and Texture Sheets, and other products in projects for all mediums and ages.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

For almost 15 years I’ve been lucky enough to have a career as a Mixed Media Designer.  I enjoy designing with paper, clay, resin, fabric, paint, metal and more to create mixed media, wearable art, paper crafts and a wide variety of other creative projects.  I love to experiment with combining mediums and using products in unique ways.

As co-host of the “When Creativity Knocks” online television crafting show (which will be exhibiting in the Consumer Connections Pavilion at the Show), I have been able to share my love of crafting with a worldwide audience.  My creative journey most recently led to the opportunity to represent a manufacturer on television on HSN.  I’m an active blogger and you can find me online on my blog – Cindi Bisson McGee – Behind These Eyes™, as well as on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn.  I’ve also been published in multiple books, magazines and online.

My motto is “Dare to be Different” and I believe there is no wrong in art – just ways to create things differently!

How many years have you participated in the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show?

After years of watching Carol Duvall on television and daydreaming while she did her CHA Shows about how some day I’d love to experience one, I attended my first Show in 2006 in Las Vegas. Since then I’ve looked forward to each Show with anticipation!

What is your favorite part of the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show?

I love exploring the new product lines from various manufacturers, and networking with fellow artists.

How would you describe a live workshop at the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show to someone who has never attended before?

The workshops at the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show offer a tremendous variety of projects for attendees to learn something new in almost any crafting medium.  They are a great way to learn from leading industry instructors about a wide assortment of products, or to learn new tips and techniques to ensure the future success of their creative businesses.

Why should buyers and creative professionals take your workshop?

Our Makin’s USA® workshop – “At the Beach” Mixed-Media Canvas – project is designed to teach attendees about the wide variety of creative options of using Makin’s Clay® and Makin’s Brand® tools in their projects. This versatile product line can literally be used in almost any craft project from children’s projects to fine art. We invite buyers and creative professionals to explore the many possibilities of designing with Makin’s Clay®.

How does your workshop relate to emerging trends and the current state of the creative industry?

Mixed media continues to maintain its status as a trend that is here to stay. Products that offer a wide variety of versatility are key and a great way for individual crafters or retailers to expand their creative options. Our workshop will show attendees some of the many ways that Makin’s Clay® can be used in not only mixed media, but in paper crafting, jewelry making, children’s crafts, fine art, and more.

What is the best advice you can offer about attending the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show, whether someone is attending for the first time or is an industry veteran?

Take advantage of the many options that the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show has to offer by selecting workshops or seminars to further your education, but also allow time to truly explore the Show floor and see the vast array of products being offered by displaying manufacturers. The Show is a great opportunity to network with fellow professionals in the arts and crafts industry – so also make time to take advantage of the different networking events offered.

What do you love most about the creative industry?

I love the endless creativity that those involved in the industry share with the world. Creative people think differently – we think outside the box.  We enjoy expressing our feelings and emotions through art, and many of us thrive on the opportunity to expand our own artistic knowledge, and share our creative ideas with others via teaching.  The CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show is the perfect way for us to achieve both those goals!

Where do you see the creative industry in five years?

The creative industry will continue to thrive. In my “perfect world” there would be a return of creative style programming to television so that the many options of “crafting” can be explored and discovered by new emerging artists of all ages. The Internet continues to be a great source for inspiration and education, so online opportunities for expanding creativity should also continue to thrive. The benefits of creativity go far beyond making pretty things to beautify the world; it can be therapeutic, can be a career, or can just be something that brings people together.

What do you love most about CHA membership?

Membership offers participating manufacturers and individuals a way to reach a broad audience of buyers, retailers, and creative professionals of all levels with which to share their product lines. The events and educational opportunities offer a wealth of networking options not found elsewhere.

Register to take “At the Beach” Mixed-Media Canvas and our other CHA MEGA Conference programs before they sell out! Stay tuned on the CHA blog next Wednesday when we will meet Marilyn Gossett!

Cheers to 75 Years: Celebrating Linda Swingle

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To celebrate 75 years of creativity at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show, we are profiling our members and sharing their stories of how they made their mark in the history of our industry.

lindaswingleAs an entrepreneur and professional artist, Linda enjoys a professional journey filled with unlimited possibilities while working with the finest clientele and companies spanning the globe. She is the President of Linda Swingle Professional Art Services, and also serves as Editor and Columnist of the CHA Designer Section Trends Report.

How long have you been a CHA Member?

I first became a CHA Member in 2006 and continued with the membership until 2008. Life presented different plans in 2009, but in 2010 I renewed membership. Renewing my membership was the best move I made for multiple reasons. My journey with CHA continues to be an enjoyable one!

What’s the best thing about being a CHA Member?

As a CHA Designer Member, I enjoy close ties with designers, manufacturers, artisans and craft enthusiasts: all whom I consider my circle of creative homies! Volunteering and serving on CHA Committees provide tremendous opportunities for personal growth and development, in addition to benefits gained through business association. Serving as the Lead and Editor of the CHA Designer Section Trends Committee’s Trends Report brings tremendous joy to my creative soul. Combining a passion for art, writing, and a love for people is a remarkable experience, and it all started through volunteering as a contributing reporter back in 2013. Five years ago, I truly had no idea of the possibilities compared to what I now know.

LSPhoto20122Why do you love attending the CHA MEGA Show?

Oh my goodness! I can revert to fun times experienced during childhood while messing around with art and craft supplies – except this time, without being yelled at! Seriously, where else can one have so much fun? Playing with new products during the CHA MEGA Show beats playing at Disneyland any day of the week! I like to refer to the CHA MEGA Show as the “Cathedral of Creativity” . . . the inner sanctum of endless possibilities if you will!

What is your most memorable CHA Show story?

Honestly, singling out a favorite is a bit difficult due to the treasure trove of fond memories collected thanks to CHA. I would say exhibiting for the first time as a new CHA Designer Member in 2011 and participating in the Designer Showcase was an extremely enjoyable experience. The first Show opened doors as well as opened my eyes to the tremendous opportunities ahead! A funny story relating to a particular make-n-take always makes me chuckle. While participating during a quick painting class held on the Show floor, as I sat and applied techniques taught, the owner of the company, a kindly gentleman, leaned over and asked if I had ever enrolled in painting classes prior to that day. Sheepishly, I stated that I had not. He quickly commented how impressed he was by the natural talent possessed. After completing a quick painted rendition of a snow-capped mountain, the man took me aside to encourage me to pursue training as a painter and asked that I stay in touch with him. At that point, it was impossible to hold back a giggle as I handed him my business card with images of murals painted professionally for commercial installations. That day, we both enjoyed a good laugh, and yes, despite the teasing, the kind man and I remain friends!

Join Linda in the seminar, CRAFTING TRENDS: What’s In and Hot For 2016 & Beyond, at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show to have FUN and celebrate the latest craft industry products and innovations.

Register today!

Share your “Cheers to 75 Years” story and we’ll feature it on the CHA Blog leading up to the 2016 CHA MEGA Show! Email marketing@craftandhobby.org, or share it on Twitter using the hashtag, #WeAreCHA.

Celebrating 75 Years of Creativity with Carol Foldvary-Anderson

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To celebrate 75 years of creativity at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show, we are profiling our members and sharing their stories of how they made their mark in the history of our industry.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I began creating art at a very young age and was recognized early as a creative thinker. My background and first love was drawing and coloring, and later painting. I also enjoy thinking in 3-D and working in wood, metal and beads, and sculpting with paper! I have had the opportunity to have produced several public works of art in my career. I enjoy teaching and creating things of beauty. I find joy in sharing my experience in working with different mediums with my students in the many classes/workshops I offer.

carolcicleWhat’s the best thing about being a CHA Member?

I believe we are here to grow, share and make a difference in the world and in other peoples’ lives. Being a CHA Designer Member has been my vehicle for creating, sharing, teaching and producing art that sells. I have grown my business and watched designers move forward with their careers. It is rewarding to see their success and to have peers that support you and your efforts of involvement in the industry.

What is your most memorable CHA Show story?

Years ago, I met a CHA Member manufacturer/distributor who noticed my oil pastel works. It was at that time I realized I had something of value to contribute to education and the arts. Over the next few years, I developed a team of arts and craft product co-sponsors and presented OIL PASTEL SMUDGE to the craft and hobby industry.

I see the application of OIL PASTEL SMUDGE fitting into the emerging trend of mixed media – layering different mediums, and in the use on new and different surfaces.

Carol Foldvary-Anderson - collage 2Why do you love attending the CHA MEGA Show? Last year was the first year my 28 year old daughter was able to attend the Conference. I was ecstatic to finally share the experience with her. Her exact words were, “This place is like a craft store on steroids!”

I remember the very first Show I attended – I was on overload. I was so excited to be in a place that wherever you looked you saw all the products and materials you worked with every day. I was excited to be a part of the industry where I could share my work, ideas and art. That’s why I love attending.

Carol Foldvary-Anderson - collage 3

Join us and Carol Foldvary-Anderson in her workshop, Oil Pastel Smudge, in Anaheim for the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show to celebrate the latest craft industry products and innovations.

Register today!

Share your “Cheers to 75 Years” story and we’ll feature it on the CHA Blog leading up to the 2016 CHA MEGA Show! Email marketing@craftandhobby.org, or share it on Twitter using the hashtag, #WeAreCHA.

Watch Carol’s video on the OIL PASTEL SMUDGE technique:

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Cheers to 75 Years Celebrating 75 Years of Creativity with Jill MacKay

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To celebrate 75 years of creativity at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show, we are profiling our members and sharing their stories of how they made their mark in the history of our industry.

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Jill MacKay is an accomplished designer, author and consultant. Her genuine enthusiasm, combined with over 25 years creative work experience makes Jill one of the most skilled, diversified and sought after designers working in the creative industries today. Jill is best known for having been the jewelry designer for the daytime drama: The Guiding Light, and for her past work on Paramount Studio’s, Star Trek: The Next Generation. In addition, Jill is the woman behind Liteseeds LED Stickers, which are stickers that crafters can use to add illumination to paper crafting, scrapbooking, paper computing and many other types of projects. The Jill MacKay brand continues to evolve and charm the jewelry makers and buyers of the industry. MacKay’s jewelry currently sells in over 2,000 stores internationally, on television, and online.

How long have you been a CHA Member?jill4

I have been a CHA member since 1992.

What’s the best thing about being a CHA Member?

The best thing about being a CHA member is the home I have found. I used to design for Hollywood types and it wasn’t at all for me; the people weren’t very down to Earth. When I attended my first CHA Show, everyone was so on my wavelength. The genuine quality of the people struck me in the way that I knew I had found a home, and I have been here ever since! The quality of people in our industry is amazing, and I have made good friends with many along the way with CHA.

Why do you love attending the CHA MEGA Show?

Jill2I love attending CHA Shows because it is so exciting to see all the new products, watch what is evolving, understand how the market changes from year to year, and, of course, spend a little time with all my old friends.

What is your most memorable CHA Show story?

Every year is special because the Show is the only time I get to see some of the people I love from CHA. So, our time together is precious. When the Show was in Las Vegas, every day the Jill3
Show would let out and there was a very long line (what seemed like a mile long as there were never enough taxis). Well, I am not very good at waiting. While approaching the taxi line one evening, I glanced over and saw this young man standing in front of a party bus. I ran over and asked him how many people I would need to rent it, and then I ran back and gathered up that many friends. In a matter of minutes we were off and no more waiting! We hopped on that bus and felt like we had just gotten away jill1with something; we were laughing and had so much fun!  Oh my gosh – I cannot tell you how hard we laughed! We took turns pretending that we knew what that pole in the back was for (wink, wink)! As I recall, that same night some of us from the bus ride had dinner together; we were having so much fun at dinner that perfect strangers came up and asked if they could join our table because they wanted to have as much fun as we were having!! At CHA, we know how to work hard all day, and have fun (on the way to) and over dinner!

Join us and Jill in the workshop, Inspire, Imagine and Create Leather Jewelry with Sizzix, at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show to have FUN and celebrate the latest craft industry products and innovations.

Register today!

Share your “Cheers to 75 Years” story and we’ll feature it on the CHA Blog leading up to the 2016 CHA MEGA Show! Email marketing@craftandhobby.org, or share it on Twitter using the hashtag, #WeAreCHA.



Meet the Instructor: Meet Marie Browning

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Registration for the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show is open! Over the next several weeks, we’ll be introducing you to some of our Workshop instructors so you can hear about their live classes and what you can expect to learn from them.

CHA Instructor

This week, we meet Marie Browning of Tombow! Marie will be teaching Custom Lettering Decorations for the Perfect Party. After taking her Workshop, you will be able to educate your customers on how to personalize their next party using tips, techniques and Tombow products!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a consummate craft designer who lives on Brentwood Bay on Vancouver Island in Canada, and has made a career of designing products, writing books and articles, and teaching.

As a bestselling author, I have written numerous books with over three million in print and reprinted in nine different languages. I became a Certified Zentangle Teacher in October 2010. I am also the author of Time to Tangle with Colors, the first book on coloring Zentangles published by Design Originals, and contributor to the book Joy of Zentangle.

In addition, I am a Creative Consultant, assisting manufacturers in developing innovative products and identifying new ways to market their products to the craft consumer. I teach classes, demonstrate at trade shows as well as appear on TV and in videos. Currently, I am the Signature Designer for American Tombow.

How many years have you participated in the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show?
I’ve been attending CHA Shows since 1999, before they were CHA but rather Hobby Industry Association (HIA) Shows. Since then, I have missed only two Shows.

What is your favorite part of the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show?
My favorite part is dealing directly with clients and other participants. I also love seeing and catching up with all of the friends I’ve made over the years.

Why should buyers and creative professionals take your workshop?
I design my workshops to be energizing, informative and inspiring. Plus, I make sure there’s lots of swag so attendees don’t go home empty handed!

How does your workshop relate to emerging trends and the current state of the creative industry?
This year my workshop is on trend with two growing areas of craft; a party theme with creative lettering using Tombow’s Dual Brush Pens; and drawing with pencils and colored pencils. Both of these trends are huge, especially with many scrapbook paper manufactures branching out into the party and art market.  At a recent show, I asked everyone who stopped by the Tombow booth what they thought the emerging trend is right now and almost everyone said ‘hand lettering’.

What is the best advice you can offer about attending the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show, whether someone is attending for the first time or is an industry veteran?
Come with enthusiasm and a smile, and be open to absorb everything. Oh, and wear comfortable shoes.

What do you love most about the creative industry?
The people. I love how everyone shares in this industry. I love to surround myself with all the creative professionals at the Show!

Where do you see the creative industry in five years?
We may face some growing pains with new technology; however, technology will never replace the value of face-to-face meetings, an in-person workshop, or meeting new, enthusiastic store owners on the Show floor.

Register to take Marie’s Workshop on Friday, January 8, 2016, and our other CHA MEGA Conference programs before they sell out! Stay tuned on the CHA blog next week when we meet CHA member and instructor Seth Apter!

CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop – Day 3


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Welcome to Day 3 of the CHA Paper Arts+ Show Blog Hop! We’re halfway there and we hope you have enjoyed following along so far!

All week we are featuring exhibitors’ products created into projects by CHA Designer Section members! Follow along to see which products the Designers used and the creations that they came up with; plus you’ll have a chance to win great prizes!

How to win:
There will be a “password” at the end of each designer blog post. Make sure you keep track of all of the “passwords.” At the end of the hop you’ll need to use the “passwords” to form a phrase.

The first two people to tweet us @Craftandhobby the correct phrase will win:

  • 1st Prize: $500 toward travel to the Paper Arts+ Show (trade only)
  • 2nd Prize: $25 AMEX gift card

Follow the #CHAShow hashtag on social media to share in all of the Paper Arts+ Show fun! Also, don’t forget to register for the  Paper Arts+ Show! Registration is NOW OPEN!

Here are your stops for Day 3:

First Stop:
CLICK HERE to see the whimsical project that Debra Quartermain came up with using product from Paper Arts+ exhibitor Sizzix/Ellison.

Second Stop:
What decorative display did Beth Watson come up with using product and tools from
MD-Hobby and Craft? CLICK HERE to find out!

Third Stop:
CLICK HERE to find out what vintage summer fun Carol Heppner came up with using product from Hot Off the Press Inc. 

Be sure to join us for more fun tomorrow. For the full schedule, click here.

CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop – Day 1


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We “hop” you got plenty of rest over the weekend because it’s time to win some prizes!

That’s right; nobody has a “case of the Mondays” this week because today we’re kicking off the CHA Paper Arts+ Show Blog Hop.

All week we’ll be featuring exhibitors’ products created into projects by CHA Designer Section Members! Follow along to see which products the Designers used and the creations they came up with.

There will be a “password” at the end of each designer blog post. Make sure you keep track of all of the “passwords.” At the end of the hop you’ll need to use the “passwords” to form a phrase.

The first two people to tweet us @Craftandhobby the correct phrase will win:

  • 1st Prize: $500 toward travel to the Paper Arts+ Show (trade only)
  • 2nd Prize: $25 AMEX gift card

Be sure to follow the #CHAShow hashtag on social media to share in all of the Paper Arts+ Show fun! Also, don’t forget to register for the  Paper Arts+ Show! Registration opens this Wednesday, May 20.

Now that we’ve gotten the formalities out of the way, let’s get started!

First Stop:
CLICK HERE to read how CHA Designer Michele Emerson Roberts used product from Paper Arts+ Exhibitor Graphic 45.

Second Stop:
How did CHA Designer Keri Sallee use product from Paper Arts+ Exhibitor Art Impressions? CLICK HERE to find out!

The fun continue tomorrow with:

CHA Designer: Carmen Flores Tanis 
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Pink and Main

CHA Designer:  Susan M. Brown
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Little B LLC

CHA Designer: Rita Barakat 
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Bo Bunny

For the full schedule, click here.

CHA Designers Team Up to Produce Free Digital Craft Industry Magazine


By Carol Heppner,

We rarely discuss one of the great advantages of being a CHA member and the wonderful relationships that form when attending the trade shows.   If you volunteer and support our organization, relationships deepen and initiate opportunities.

Such is the case with Ann Butler and me.  Ann and I were on Google + catching up on some CHA Designer-Section business when our discussion turned to our individual companies.   As craft-design business owners, we are constantly working with manufacturers and seeking to have the manufacturers’ products published.

During this conversation, Ann uttered those fateful words, “I wish we could develop our own publication.”   I looked at Ann and said, “We can.”   After a minute of thinking about it, Ann responded with, “But it has to be free to the reader.”   It was during these first few minutes that Bella Crafts Quarterly was born and our business model started to develop.

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We knew that we wanted to bring quality projects and topical craft-industry columns to readers who craft for business and for pleasure.   We wanted to inspire readers to craft, which would help the entire craft industry.   To that end, and in keeping with our belief, the first project in all our quarterly issues is always a Cre8time.org project showing readers that they can reconnect with crafting by making the project within minutes.

Creating a quarterly publication, while still running our individual companies, would be no easy feat and we would need help.  An undertaking this size needed individuals who are hard working, talented and craft-industry savvy.   Having worked with Lisa Rojas and Theresa Cifali on previous projects, they immediately came to mind as fitting the bill.

Although the four of us have our individual companies, we joined forces to work on this project.  Each designer brings unique skills that allow us to produce a bella-creative-teamquality publication to inspire crafters of all levels.  What is uniquely special is how well we work together.   In a competitive business world, where companies are looking to be one-step in front of their competition, it is rare that companies can come together and create a joint product.  Our ability to work well together may come from the many volunteer projects on which we worked for the CHA Designer Section.  Volunteering to help make CHA a better organization helps develop business relationships that are rewarding.

So, what is Bella Crafts Quarterly™?  It is the #1, free downloadable craft magazine published by four of the craft-industry’s top professional craft designers.  We create quality projects and are the bridge between manufacturers and the crafting public.  Our preview Halloween issue of Bella Crafts Quarterly™ ranked #8 on Magcloud’s Top 15 Popular Magazine

What will you find in Bella Crafts Quarterly™?

  • Artist to Artist – Interviews with our industry’s creative professionals
  • Blog Star – Creative bloggers share their experiences
  • Craft Projects – Craft projects designed to inspire
  • CRE8TIME.org – A quick craft project to help crafters reconnect with crafting
  • Photo Talk™ – Taking your photographs to the next level
  • Lessons with Lisa™ – Crafting advice to make a difference in the crafter’s life
  • Live Links – Our digital versions contain live links to send readers to products used in projects
  • Socially Sensible™ – Social Media advice to help your business
  • Sponsored Craft Projects – Craft projects brought to you by the industry’s manufacturers
  • Trending Thoughts – Trend and topical advice from CHA professional craft designers

winter-journey-cover-smallBella Crafts Quarterly™ is can be downloaded free on our website, http://bellacraftsquarterly.com and you can read it free online at Magcloud.com.  The print version is also available through Magcloud for a fee.

We are able to provide the free digital version of Bella Crafts Quarterly™ to readers by project sponsorship from manufacturers.  If you are Manufacturer and like more information, contact us at info@bellacraftsquarterly.com.

Wishing you very successful CHA 2013 Winter Show.

~ Carol

Become an official CHA Blog Guest Blogger!

The CHA Blog is currently seeking guest bloggers and blog posts. Any CHA member can submit a post! Basically, a blog post consists of either a video or photo of an event or experience and a short blurb. We want you to tell your story: what current trends do we need to know about? What is the one thing you look forward to the most at CHA shows? What crafty community service project are you involved with? If you’re interested, please submit your post idea, blog post, name and contact information to jbaum@craftandhobby.org.

All guest blog posts are the sole responsibility of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA), its staff members, sponsors or exhibitors. The inclusion of a link or reference does not imply the endorsement of the linked site by the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA).

CHA Summer Conference and Trade Show – Designer Section Meeting Thanks!


The CHA Design Members hold their section meeting at the CHA summer and winter shows.  This summer was no exception.

However, before the start of our meeting, we were able to have some great products as door prizes for the CHA Design Members who attended our early morning meeting.

CHA Manufacturers are known for their generosity and the munificence gifts for the door prizes were breathtaking.

Beadalon® provided wonderful tools and supplies for jewelry making.

Impress Art® sent a great metal stamping kit which included their new hammer designed just for metal stamping.

ILoveToCreate.com® supplied a goodie basket filled with their fantastic products, which was wrapped beautifully.  They also offered a Tulip® ScreenIt™ to every CHA design section member who attended the summer show.  The designer had to register with ILoveToCreate.com® at the show in order to receive the machine.

Cousin® gave fantastic jewelry kits and their new Snap in Style® bracelets.

Die Cuts with a View gave a pretty container loaded with their magnificent products.

Sizzix® presented one lucky winner a Vagabond and some amazing dies. Design Section Member, Shannon Bielke, was the winner.

Velcro® sent a bag over filled with their superb fasteners for every need.

Westcott® loaded up lucky winners with excellent cutting tools that will make cutting a joy.

Beacon sent a bottle of Zip Dry for all the designers who attended the meeting, unfortunately, the box couldn’t be located during the section meeting. 

The Design Council and the Designer Members of CHA thank Beacon, Beadalon®, Impress Art®, ILoveToCreate.com®, Cousin®, Die Cuts with a View, Sizzix®, Velcro®, and Westcott® for all their support and generosity.

Andrea Currie, Winner of TLC’s Craft Wars, Tells All


By Andrea Currie, Guest Blogger


I have to start by saying thank you to my friends at CHA for naming me the “Official CHA Craft Wars Ambassador.” In return of the generous title I have compiled a list of the most popular Craft Wars questions that I received while I fluttered around the Chicago trade show.

Wait who are you and when did you start crafting?
Although I’ve been hooked on glitter and hot glue my entire life, I didn’t seriously start pursuing my creative dreams until about 4 years ago when I joined the Craft  & Hobby Association as a designer member. My goal at the time was simply to find like minded glitter obsessed crafters – and boy did I!

Eventually my dedication to the craft industry and hard work got me noticed by industry professionals but most importantly helped me groom invaluable relationships with talented designers and established companies. The most rewarding relationship created was with my Craft Wars assistant Lisa Fulmer!

Moving forward I hope to help companies enter into the craft market, license my library or designs and represent companies already established within the craft and hobby industry. Ohh and I want to write my very first craft book too!

How did you get onto Craft Wars?
I wish it was some fantasy story where a producer begged me to be on the show, but I had but one choice – audition tape! Once I found out I was on Craft Wars I was elated because I knew that win or lose the exposure would be a phenomenal thing for my blossoming creative career.

From that moment forward I vowed to keep my nerves in check by concentrating on having fun and following my creative instincts. A tactic that paid off in the end!

What did you make on Craft Wars?
In the pop craft challenge we were tasked with creating keepsake boxes using keys and locks. These odd materials inspired me to create a whimsical gnome home keepsake box which I constructed out of from foam core and covered in lot’s of felt!


The bling of the keys and locks were just the right touch to get me through to the master craft challenge where the remaining contestant and I were challenged to create something for a wedding in 5 hours using invitations, baby blankets, jeans and candle sticks! In the end I created a life sized modern whimsical wedding wishing tree which acted as a fun alternative to a cookie cutter guest book.

Did I mention we had to do this in 5 hours!?! Looking back (given the time) I would have done a few things differently but that didn’t stop the judges from naming me the Craft Wars winner!

What were the judges and Tori Spelling Like?
Even though we didn’t get any off camera time with the judges or Tori Spelling, I can assure you that they are just as fun as the crafters competing on the show. At first I was incredibly intimidated by all of their industry expertise but to my surprise they were very easy to talk to – which in turn softened the blow of their criticism. Judge Stephen Brown gives you a good idea of his approachable style in his CHA blog post here.

One of the most memorable moments was at the end of our episode when a teary-eyed Tori gave Lisa and I big hugs. I think she was touched by how emotional we were about our win.

What do you think Craft Wars means for the Craft Industry?
I’ve been taking an informal survey throughout the season and found that in my circle Craft Wars is being embraced by the younger generation of creative people who seem to be inspired and entertained by the faster paced unconventional approach to crafting. Hopefully, this concept, along with initiatives like Cre8time, will help strengthen the industry and ensure we have enough diversity to keep the future generations excited about crafting.

Other than winning what was the best part about participating on the show?
Crafting with my crafty sister Lisa is at the top of my list – followed quickly by the opportunity to  show off my skills on a national TV show.


Also it was quite nice to be able to craft my brains out and not have to clean up afterwards!

What are you going to do with the prize money?
I’m giving half of the money to Lisa and using my half to kick-start my next line of fun designs. Shoot me an email to be put on the first access list! Or just drop me a line to say hi!

Don’t forget to watch Craft Wars every Tuesday night at 8pm (7pm Central).

Andrea

Email: Andrea@handmakemyday.com
Blog: http://handmakemyday.com
Twitter: #handMAKEMyDay
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/handmakemyday/
Lisa’s blog: http://lisalizalou.blogspot.com/

Become an official CHA Blog Guest Blogger!

The CHA Blog is currently seeking guest bloggers and blog posts. Any CHA member can submit a post! Basically, a blog post consists of either a video or photo of an event or experience and a short blurb. We want you to tell your story: what current trends do we need to know about? What is the one thing you look forward to the most at CHA shows? What crafty community service project are you involved with? If you’re interested, please submit your post idea, blog post, name and contact information to jbaum@craftandhobby.org.

All guest blog posts are the sole responsibility of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA), its staff members, sponsors or exhibitors. The inclusion of a link or reference does not imply the endorsement of the linked site by the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA).