Time to Start Being the Change

By Laura Kelly-Walters

My creative life is a never ending journey and one that causes great joy for me and many others.  I started on this path when I was first pregnant and that baby is now TWENTY.  After 20 years of doing the same things (all things that I love like doodling, painting and making), I decided it was time to keep doing these things but also make a big change.

I love licensing my art and am proud of my relationships and partnerships in the craft industry, including with Sizzix, AdornIt, Tombow, Sculpey and Kunin Group.  With so much growth, I decided that it was time to start sharing my designs in a bigger way and to change the way I thought about social marketing myself and my works.  I have been doing everything on my own for 20 years.  I decided that I was ready to change and be the leader of a team, a design team that is all about me and my mission.  I wanted to create a team that would support these manufacturers through the sharing of my doodles and designs because when it all comes down to it, we are in this together.

I put an application out there and was floored at the crazy huge number of responses.  More than the shock and excitement, I was empowered and honored.  I thought this change would be challenging, but truth is, it has been a blast.  I struggled to choose who to put on the team and wish I could have chosen them all.  It is like I created a big creative party with a team of amazing and talented colleagues who not only support me 100% but also each other.  We are a winning team filled with love, passion and creativity.

I am convinced that my journey starts with me. If I want change, I get to cause it. I guess that is why I love Gandhi’s quote so much…”BE the change you wish to see in the world.”  I accessed my courage and caused change for me and the members of my team.  I am now BEING change and it is awesome sauce.

Meet the inaugural Laura Kelly Design Team and learn how they will be sharing different ways to make Laura Kelly products, designs and doodles part of your life.



Laura Kelly-Walters
Licensed Doodle Artist/Designer/Project Maker/Mom/Tombow Senior Ambassador


31 Days of Crafting: The Great Northwest Paper Chase

March is National Craft Month! All month long we will 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.

The Northwest Paper Chase is celebrating with its annual three-week event for scrapbookers, paper enthusiasts and general crafters who want to have fun and support their local creative community!


This year, 28 stores in Washington and Oregon will be participating in the “chase”, which runs from March 4 through March 20. The goal of the chase is to drive customers to local stores.

To participate, “chasers” purchase a passport and travel from store to store. At the end of the chase, chasers win prizes from event sponsors based on 1) how many stores they visit; 2) the amount of money they spent, and 3) the numbers of pictures they posted on social media. Participating stores offer discounts, exclusive page kits, make-n-takes, themed photo ops, giveaways and more!

Learn more about the “chase” and how to participate.

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

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing marketing@craftandhobby.org or using the hashtags #WeAreCHA, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

31 Days of Crafting: National Craft Month Giveaway

March is National Craft Month! All month long we will 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.

In celebration of National Craft Month, Marjie Kemper is giving away a free seat in her online class with Craftsy called Inventive Ink: Colorful Mixed Media Effects. Watch this video to learn how you can win!

Read more about this class on Marjie’s blog.

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

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing marketing@craftandhobby.org or using the hashtags #WeAreCHA and #CRE8TIME on social media.

31 Days of Crafting: Spring Crafts Crafternoon

March is National Craft Month! All month long we will 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.

Today we’re featuring CHA Member Rita Gonzales, and her business Mothership Scrapbook Girl.


Rita will be hosting a Crafternoon for Spring Crafts on Sunday, March 6 at Packinghouse Brewery in Riverside, CA. Attendees will make three craft projects, enjoy a yummy snack bar, and receive a crafty SWAG bag to take home!

“To inspire creativity, I am always open to new opportunities to share my crafty skills with local businesses in my community. For Valentine’s Day, I asked my local art store if I could be in the store during Arts Walk, a local community event, to demo products and make mini Valentine cards. The store was excited to have me provide an activity for customers during Arts Walk, and I was happy to try out new product!”

If you’re nearby, celebrate National Craft Month at Rita’s Crafternoon and try new crafts and products.









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

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing marketing@craftandhobby.org or using the hashtags #WeAreCHA, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

2016 CHA MEGA Show Recap Told By Our Attendees

It’s hard to believe that the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show was already over a month ago! Thousands of you, CHA members, creative product buyers, distributors, bloggers, designers and creative professionals joined us at the Anaheim Convention Center to take advantage of live, high-quality education workshops and seminars, and to see 12,000 new products from 370 exhibitors, representing 67 countries.

We could go on and on about how amazing the Show was, but we decided it would be more fun to share your experiences. Here are some of the videos, pictures and recaps we’ve seen online!

Hot Trends
Blitsy Crafts sought out the hottest trends for 2016. Watch this video to see the top five hot trends that the Blitsy team discovered on the Show floor.


New, New, New
Watch these new product demo videos from PaperCrafter’s Corner, including a demo of the 2016 Hot Product Award winner for the Bead & Jewelry category, the Bangle Bracelet Weaver Tool by Beadalon.


The People
Without the creative people in our industry, there wouldn’t be a Show! Here’s a great visual blog recap by Nancy Nally of Scrapbook Update, who visited some of her favorite people on the Show floor.


Best Booth Displays
Jenny Barnett Rohrs of Craft Test Dummies paid a visit to the booth of the 2016 Critics’ Choice Booth Award winner, Lion Brand Yarn. Watch her interview with London Kaye, the artist behind the crocheted display! Jenny also got a personal tour of Plaid’s booth, which won the 75th Anniversary Booth Award in spirit of the Show’s 75th year.


More Pictures!
Check out our official Show photo album on Facebook to relive the Show from start to finish.


Top Tweets









Want more details? Read our press release for a full recap of this year’s Show.

Visit chamegashow.org for the latest announcements about exhibiting at or attending our 2017 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show, January 19-23* at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, AZ.

*Education starts January 19, 2017. The Trade Show starts January 21, 2017.

Hot Product Showcase Success Story – Beadalon

logoThe Hot Product Showcase at the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show recognizes outstanding innovation, design and function in consumer craft products. In addition to getting eyed by thousands of buyers, these products are judged by a panel of media, celebrity and industry judges for a chance to earn the prestigious title of the Hot Product Award winner. The panel critiques products submitted in each of eight categories (Bead & Jewelry, Cake & Food Decorating, Fabric & Needle Craft, Floral Craft, General Craft, Kids Craft, Paint & Art, and Paper Craft), and ultimately selects the Hot Product Award winners from each.

So, how does being a Hot Product Award winner make your product hot? Here’s what Yvette Rodriguez, Event Manager & Marketing Coordinator at Beadalon, knows. Last year, Artistic Wire™ 3D Bracelet Jig by Beadalon won the 2015 Hot Product Award for Bead & Jewelry.

IMG_4044“It was a perfect opportunity to have a formal presentation to an influential group in the craft industry. Our company’s goal is to bring innovative products and beading supplies for the DIY jewelry making market in the craft industry, and having the one-on-one time was more valuable than just presenting it in our booth (which can sometimes be overlooked).

‘Hot Product’ is a honorable title to hold! It is a ‘badge’ that we proudly showed off to our wholesale customers and consumers, which helped with communicating that our new product was worth considering.

This program is a great platform where companies can present their innovative products to the industry.”

Submit your new craft product or prototype to the 2016 Hot Product Showcase by November 16 for a chance to be the next Artistic Wire™ 3D Bracelet Jig”. Stay tuned next week for more success stories from our Hot Product Award winners.


Last Chance for Early Bird Hotel Specials at MEGA Show

Don’t get spooked, but tomorrow is the last day you can take advantage of great early bird hotel rates* if you book with these hotels in CHA’s housing block. And since tomorrow’s Saturday, we highly recommend you book today.


Hotel Rate
Stanford Inn & Suites $90 single/double
Clarion Hotel Anaheim Resort $99 single/double
Desert Palms Hotel & Suites $102 single/double
The Anabella Hotel $119 single/double
Hotel Indigo Anaheim $119 single/double
Embassy Suites Anaheim South $124 single/double
Hyatt Place at Anaheim $130 single/double

Book your hotel right here!

Be sure to add your hotel rewards number when booking to receive points for your loyalty program.

If you don’t see your preferred hotel available after searching for the dates you need, please contact onPeak at (855) 992-3353, Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. EST or email CHA@onpeak.com.

onPeak is the ONLY official housing company partnered with CHA. Beware of other hotel resellers contacting you soliciting Anaheim hotel room reservations; they are not endorsed by or affiliated with CHA. onPeak is the ONLY housing company that can guarantee your reservation and CHA’s guaranteed low rates. CHA advises all participants not to book through these other companies and to contact us if someone approaches you. Please email awilliams@craftandhobby.org if you are solicited by someone other than onPeak, LLC.


Part Two: Expanding Our Creative Toolbox and Our Horizons by Carmen Flores Tanis

Our Craft Industry Today Fall 2015 issue explored new technologies that CHA members using to add value to their business success. Carmen Flores Tanis sat down with a few more CHA members to learn the innovative approaches they are taking to turn their ideas into tangible products.

The Value of Prototyping
Build It Workspace interior by Carmen Flores Tanis
One of the beauties of print on demand is the ability to test a design before committing to print two, three or 100 items. Did you know this prototyping process is available on other kinds of machines? Catherine Lengsfeld of Build It Workspace uses an electronic die cutter to test designs for wedding favors before having them turned into steel rule dies for her traditional hand-cranked die cutting machine. Electronic plotter and vinyl die cutters, common tools of the trade for sign and banner shops, have shrunk in size and have been adapted to cut fabric and cork, in addition to vinyl and paper materials, and even engrave metal. Lengsfeld explains that while the digital die cutter is not meant for high rate production, it works beautifully for prototyping designs, which can then be mass produced on a different machine.

Lisa Elston, Product Manager at Ellison/Sizzix, is very involved with STEAM education programs and  agrees with the importance of prototyping. (STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, a movement championing the integration of creative skills with scientific thinking in school and business environments.)  Elston explains that this ability to try ideas with electronic die cutters allows students to make mistakes and apply what they learn to subsequent design variations. “Students are able to create ideas faster and with fewer issues and problems.”

Manufacturing at Home
Rob Bostick of  JudiKins uses his laser cutting machine for a different purpose. Up until recently, Bostick would design stencils using the graphics program Illustrator. He would import his design into a Sizzix eclips electronic die cutting machine for testing. Once he was happy with it he would send it to a vendor who would then manufacture the plastic stencils for him in large quantities. That all changed when his vendor upped the prices.

After doing the math, Bostick decided to purchase his own laser cutting machine. In one fell swoop, Bostick changed his workflow and became the manufacturer for  the JudiKins line of plastic stencils. “The biggest problem was running the minimums,” says Bostick. “Doing the manufacturing in-house allows us to create new products on the fly. We can dream of something, design it, make it, test market it and not have to worry about putting a lot of investment into having one stencil made up. We can make just one or 20 to take to a show.”

Bostick says, “When it comes to designs, you really have no clue how they are going to sell until you get out in the marketplace. Now we can make really short runs to test the market. Then we can invest more in the designs that sell. It helps us to create more images faster and to try different designs easily.”

Laser engraved pumpkin by Catherine Lengsfeld

Designer Tracy Alden is a master of mold making and resin casting. Although these materials are not new, they are resurging in popularity. Alden works with curators to make replicas of pieces for small museums and underprivileged groups that cannot afford to travel and view the original artwork. As a member of the Alumite design team, Alden starts her projects by sculpting an original work out of polymer clay or non-drying artisan clay. From the original, she casts a mold that she can then fill with any number of materials – plaster, clay, resin, paper maché, or even chocolate!

For her jewelry pieces, Alden casts between 20 to 100 pieces for a particular mold and makes each one slightly different through the careful use of inclusions, such as glitter and leaves. “It’s a simple way to customize and make one-of-a-kind pieces,” says Alden. I take personal pride in being able to mold my own creations and in pushing the boundaries of the materials. And there has to be a joy in what you’re doing. Then you’ll feel encouraged to make more and that means more sales and more money.”

Missed “Part One” of this series? Download the digital version of Craft Industry Today Fall 2015 to read learn about more technologies, including print on demand, screen printing and more.

“Meet the Teachers” Blog Series: Meet Stephanie Barnard of Sizzix!

We are getting to know some of our Paper Arts+ workshop teachers in this “Meet the Teacher” blog post series. Throughout the series, you will learn about their art and inspiration, the value in attending their workshops, and what you can expect to learn.

barnardOur second featured teacher is Stephanie Barnard of Sizzix.

Stephanie’s Card Making is Hot! workshop will take place on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. In this class, attendees will create two cards using Stephanie’s Sizzix line; they will learn about award winning ink sheets and drop-ins, plus lots of tips and tricks. Card making is becoming more and more popular. Make sure your store knows about and carries the hottest Sizzix dies on the market!

Tell us a little about yourself.
If it’s possible to live, breathe, eat and sleep card making and stamping, I’m giving it my best shot.  At Sizzix, I’m the spokesperson and research and development consultant. Also, I’m a licensed designer for Sizzix and Clearsnap, and possess a drive to create innovative, cutting-edge products.

What do you love most about the creative industry?
I love that I have been warmly welcomed as a professional in this industry. It’s an honor to share my passion for creativity and inspire others.

What do you love most about teaching workshops?
Teaching workshops is an opportunity for me to connect with students. I learn just as much from them as they do from me. I value suggestions and feedback. Oh, and I love to hear where everyone has traveled from to be at the event!

What value would you place on attending classes offered at live conferences such as the Paper Arts+ Show?
I’ve never been to a class where I haven’t had at least one valuable experience. Attending shows is all about what you can take back to your customers – new products and new knowledge are equally important. Never stop learning.

What are the top takeaways that attendees will learn by taking your workshop?
Students will learn tons of tips and tricks for using my products in conjunction with all the specialty accessories in the Sizzix line. Also, there is nothing comparable to trying out a product yourself!

When you’re not teaching, what can we find you doing?
I really want to say drinking Diet Coke, but I do that during class too. Chances are you’d probably find me on an airplane traveling to teach another class or in my home studio designing new products. While I love doing all the things I just mentioned, my heart is really with my family. So, it’s likely you’d find me taking walks or snuggling with Ken, my girls or our dog Cookie!

sizzix logo
The Paper Arts+ Show is around the corner and Show registration is open! Sign up for
Stephanie’s Card Making is Hot! Workshop today!  Click here to view the Paper Arts+ Show Preview Guide.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog post where we will feature John Petersen of IMAGINE Crafts!

10 Reasons Why You Can’t Miss the CHA MEGA Show

mega header

The 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show is taking place January 7-12, 2016 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.

The MEGA Show comes around once a year and is the craft industry’s largest trade show in the US! Global industry manufacturers and buyers attend the Show year after year in order to conduct business, network and discover the industry’s latest trends. It’s your chance to get an entire years’ worth of business done in just six days!



Here are the Top 10 reasons why you must attend the CHA MEGA Show in January!

  1. The latest craft industry trends and forecasts are presented on the Show floor and in classrooms
  2. Five days of education, including the EXTRA day you wanted on Thursday, January 7
  3. 400+ manufacturers featuring 12,000+ new products
  4. Exciting special events to celebrate the Show’s 75th anniversary
  5. Everything you want to see – specific product and new exhibitor pavilions, and NEW Show floor exhibits showcasing products in action
  6. More hands-on product workshops led by the industry’s favorite designers
  7. Free retail education from industry experts, sponsored by the Independent Retailer Conference (IRC)
  8. New Business Solutions Pavilion with companies to help boost your efficiency and profitability
  9. Valuable networking opportunities with key industry players
  10. The only place you can conduct a year’s worth of business in SIX days


Save the Date:
Registration opens this September!
Stay in touch for the latest updates: