Join the “See You at CHA!” Blog Hop



You are invited to participate in the See You at CHA! Blog Hop to celebrate coming together at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show!

Hosted by the Social Committee of the CHA Designer Section, this big behemoth of a blog hop will be a tremendous opportunity for all CHA members to reach loads of colleagues and customers as we share our plans and promotions for the Show.

The link to an online registration form is at the end of this post – sign up early and plan ahead to generate lots of excitement for your week at the MEGA Show in January!

Hop dates: December 7-11, 2015
You will pick a date within this week to post on your blog. The master hop schedule with links will be posted on the CHA blog in November. Right-click and save the banner graphic above to use as a blog hop badge.

Participants: CHA members and craft media sites who/that plan to attend and/or exhibit at the MEGA Show (all membership categories).

Hop theme: The 2016 MEGA Show and CHA’s 75th Anniversary
Your blog post can be about any of these topics:

• New product sneak peek(s)
• Demo, class, seminar and/or make-n-take schedules
• Show specials and/or related offers
• Project inspiration and/or tutorials
• Memories of past Shows and/or craft industry anecdotes
• What you’re excited about seeing or doing at the 2016 Show
• Tips for getting the most out of the Show
• Behind the scenes Show and/or travel prep

IMPORTANT – Joint $$$ giveaway!
No blog hop is complete without a chance for people to win something fabulous!

Each blog hop participant will be required to contribute a minimum of $5 to the prize pot. We’ll be using to securely collect funds online from participants. The final sum of funds in the prize pot will be used to purchase a VISA gift card for the winner.

The more money in the pot, the bigger the prize value and the more traffic and excitement it will generate for everyone! You’ll receive a code for a Rafflecopter prize drawing widget to put in your post. The entry options will be limited to just three: a blog comment, a tweet or a pin. All blog hop participants (CHA employees excluded), their staff, and their customers, fans and followers are eligible to win – both domestic and international.

Click here to sign up today – the deadline to join is September 30. 2015.

Feel free to post any comments or questions you might have about the hop in the See You at CHA Facebook group. You can also email the blog hop organizer with questions: Lisa Fulmer –

About the Social Committee of the CHA Designer Section:
We moderate a Facebook group called See You at CHA, where attendees and exhibitors can connect, socialize and network prior, during and/or after any CHA Show. CHA members in all membership categories are welcome to join, as well as craft media reps. The Social Committee is here to help you navigate the Show, share experiences, meet new people and learn about fun things to do at the Show. You can even use the group to find a hotel roommate, airport shuttle pal, or dinner companions – we want to do whatever we can to help you have a great experience at CHA!

Meet Bonnie Krebs and Kate Swanson of Art Impressions Rubber Stamps


We are getting to know some of our Paper Arts+ workshop teachers in this “Meet the Teachers” blog post series. Through the series, you will learn about their art and inspiration, the value in attending their workshops, and what you can expect to learn. We’re having double the fun this week as we feature two teachers! Meet Bonnie Krebs and Kate Swanson of Art Impressions Rubber Stamps!


In their workshop New! Interactive Holiday Stamping, Bonnie and Kate will teach you tips, tricks and techniques using Art Impressions’ latest stamping products. You will complete four dynamic and fun projects, like creating interactive cards with unique stamping patterns! At the end of this two hour session, you will take home creative ideas for Christmas projects your customers will love and FREE product for you to recreate some of these amazing projects for your store!

Tell us a little about yourself.

One of us, Bonnie Krebs, is originally from Salem, Oregon, where she and her husband, Phil, started Art Impressions Rubber Stamps in 1987. Bonnie and Phil have grown their family business through a constantly changing industry and are proudly celebrating the store’s 28th anniversary in July. Bonnie is a self-taught, whimsical artist who loves to create new images. She is the sole designer for Art Impressions and has created over 8,000 designs, from cute characters and animals to watercolor stamping techniques.

The other one of us, Kate Swanson, grew up with a strong love of stamping, paper crafting and party planning. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Communications from George Fox University. After graduation, she happened to visit a friend who was working at Art Impressions. It was perfect timing, as Kate was looking for a job and Art Impressions was hiring. Kate joined the company and quickly brought her personal and professional passions to the team. Four years later, she holds the title of Marketing and Accounts Manager, and works closely with storeowners and industry professionals. Kate has traveled all over the United States to demonstrate at the Craft & Hobby Association’s trade shows as well as other special events and retail shows.

What do you love most about the creative industry?

We love the people! We enjoy spending time and sharing our creations with other store owners, creative customers, industry colleagues and likeminded individuals. We look forward to trade shows (especially CHA’s Paper Arts+) because we get to spend time and catch up with our friends and industry counterparts!

What do you love most about teaching workshops?

We’re always formulating new stamping techniques and interactive card ideas. We love watching those who take our classes light up when we present these new concepts. It is so much fun to see our class attendees interact with the products that took us months to conceptualize!

What value would you place on attending classes offered at live conferences such as the Paper Arts+ Show?

A little instruction goes a long way, especially with our products. At a live Show, we can offer many tips and tricks, which help store owners and can be passed on to customers. This type of experience has great worth because attendees leave with inventive ways to use our stamp collections – ideas that they would not have learned anywhere else!

What are the top takeaways that attendees will learn by taking your workshop?

When we say attendees will LOVE the new releases we have in store, we mean it! We have been working hard to create new products for the holiday season, as well as extensions of some existing lines. Attendees won’t want to miss our fun workshop, where the samples they’ll make will put a smile on any customer’s face!

When you’re not teaching, what can we find you doing?

When we’re not chatting about new ideas or hard at work, we love to travel! Whether we’re on a business trip or hitting vacation spots around Oregon (we both adore the Oregon Coast and Bend, OR!), we like to have a little change in scenery! Spending time with our families is important to both of us as well. Bonnie and Phil welcomed two beautiful granddaughters this past year, who are three months apart. Kate treasures her time with her three year old son, who always keeps her on her toes, and her husband, Tony.

The Paper Arts+ Show is around the corner and Show registration is open! Register for the New! Interactive Holiday Stamping workshop today!

Stay tuned for next week’s blog post where we will meet Fran Seifor, the founder and Chief Artistic Officer of Stampendous!

Join the fun and get a sneak peek at what you can expect to see at the Paper Arts+ Show!



We’ve paired our Paper Arts+ exhibitors with members of the CHA Designer Section for a fun Blog Hop taking place May 18-22.

Designer Section members are hard at work right now creating amazing projects using our exhibitors’ products. Beginning Monday, May 18, we’ll share the designers’ dedicated blog posts where they’ll show you which products they used, how they created their projects and pictures of their finished creations.

Follow along each day for your chance to win prizes. The bottom of each blog post will contain one word from a phrase. At the end of the Blog Hop, tweet the completed phrase to us at @CraftandHobby and include the show hashtag #CHAShow.

The first two people to tweet us the correct phrase will win the following:
1st Prize: $250 toward travel to the Paper Arts+ Show
2nd Prize: $25 AMEX gift card

Be sure to follow the #CHAShow hashtag on social media to share in the Paper Arts+ Show fun!

Thank you to the participating CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop exhibitors and designers


Visit the CHA Blog starting May 18 to join the fun and for a chance to win prizes!

The CHA Foundation Hosted a Kids Crafting Day at Bradley Hospital



On April 2, 2015, the Craft & Hobby Association Foundation partnered with The Rit Studio, Craft Attitude and Michaels Stores to host a “Kids Crafting Day” at Bradley Hospital in East Providence, Rhode Island. Together, we celebrated National Craft Month and promoted the many benefits art can offer those with mental health conditions.


Bradley Hospital, licensed by the Department of Children, Youth and Families, provides a range of family-focused, high-quality mental health care to infants, children, adolescents and young adults with emotional disorders and/or developmental disabilities.


During the Kids Craft Day, children attending Bradley Hospital’s various inpatient and partial programs participated in a day filled with creative projects to celebrate the notion of CRE8TIME – a movement which raises awareness for the need to devote more time for creative expression, and provide a forum for individuals to share their experiences with the creative community at large. The project of choice was painting laser cut frames from Michaels using Rit Dye and embellishing with crayon drawings, shapes cut out from scrapbooking paper and stickers. Each child drew pictures that they were able to display in the frames.


All of the projects were led by CHA Staff and craft specialists from The Rit Studio, including Rebecca Fretty, Jasmin Chang and Ruth Gallogly; and Andrea Atwater, representing Craft Attitude.

The children had a wonderful day learning about #CRE8TIME, celebrating creativity and creating their own masterpieces! More pictures of the event can be seen on the CRE8TIME Facebook page.

If you are interested in hosting or sponsoring an event, please contact

Last Chance To Enter The National Craft Month Selfie Contest!


In celebration of National Craft Month, we are having a “selfie” contest to promote creativity and craft retail stores. March is coming to an end and there’s only 5 days left to win!

Follow these easy steps to enter:



Join Now, Upload & Win!


CHA 2015 MEGA Show Brings Industry Together To Showcase Hot New Products

The CHA MEGA Conference and Tradeshow, the largest event for the craft and hobby industry, concluded a successful 74th annual event, January 9-13, 2015 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.  The CHA MEGA Show, produced by the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA), brings together the entire industry for five days of education, networking and product innovation.


Exhibitors began setting-up on January 8th and they quickly brought their booths to life, as they, along with Show staff and the decorators, worked quickly to get the Show floor ready for opening on Saturday morning.



The CHA 2015 MEGA Show drew thousands of buyers from 56 countries to see the newest products coming to market. Good Housekeeping TV, MSNBC, Better Homes and Gardens and a host of other global media outlets were present to get a glimpse of tomorrow’s craft trends, interview small business entrepreneurs, and report on innovation, new products and industry awards of excellence.

As a hub for learning, the CHA MEGA Show Conference offered more than 100 programs including Business Seminars and Workshops, Demo-nars®, Feed Your Brain seminars, Hands-On Labs and Artisan Workshops. Seminars with a focus on technology and social media were popular among attendees.




Rachel Shechtman, owner of STORY in NYC, delivered an inspiring Keynote Address on “Rewriting Retail: From Making Sales to Creating an Experience.”   She gave attendees plenty of good ideas on how to re-think their retail space and make it a multi-sensory experience for customers.


Show opening day on Saturday morning saw the registration area packed with attendees lining up and exhibitors making last minute touches to their booths. The Show floor featured an array of education and interactive activities including an Independent Retailer Conference, product workshops, a Makerspace with live demonstrations a Designer Showcase featuring the hottest craft designers, celebrity appearances, and fashion shows.





New additions to the Show floor also included an Art & Paint Pavilion, sponsored by the Society of Decorative Painters, that featured the latest art materials and paint suppliers, live hands-on painting demonstrations and a curated art gallery showcasing artists’ best hand-made decorative paintings from all over the world.

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The Hot Product Showcases were a top destination area for Show attendees and featured 24 nominees in eight categories.  The winners of the Hot Product Awards, selected by a jury of expert media and celebrity judges, were announced at the CHA 2nd Annual Foundation Gala on Sunday, January 11, 2015. Click here to view the 2015 Hot Product Winners by category.


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The Show had its own Maker Space area, combining tech influenced DIY and inspiring presentations by craft industry innovators, Sarah Hodsdon and Jill Mackay.


The Independent Retailer Conference — dedicated entirely to the unique lifestyle and responsibilities of retail small business owners—was an incredibly popular new Show floor feature that included 15 minute power seminar sessions presented by top small business experts.

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More than 400 people attended the CHA Foundation Gala, a charity event to benefit the CRE8TIME Movement, the CHA Foundation’s consumer outreach program that is designed to inspire creativity in everyone.

In addition to the CHA Hot Product Awards other presentations at the Gala included the launch of a grant program with the Kids in Need Foundation (KINF) to support art education in public schools, Industry Awards for Exhibiting with Excellence and the 2015 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Click here to view all awards recipients.

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In 2016, the CHA MEGA Show will celebrate its 75th anniversary edition, January 8-13, 2016 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.  For more information visit

Click here to view the MEGA Show Facebook photo album.

Industry Celebration and Giving Back Were the Prominent Themes of the 2nd Annual CHA Foundation Gala

Wow, what a night! The 2nd Annual CHA Foundation Gala & Silent Auction, sponsored by Michaels, lived up to its billing of dinner, dancing and inspiration. The themes of the evening were celebrating the industry and giving back, and we accomplished both in a BIG way this year!


Everyone was greeted by a glass of champagne and walked down the “blue carpet” as they entered a “Hollywood awards ceremony” just for our industry!


The first hour was spent at the cocktail reception and silent auction, the proceeds of which benefitted CRE8TIME and The Kids in Need Foundation.

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We had two amazing hosts in Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender of KIZER & BENDER – who should be, if they aren’t already, auditioning for the hosting gig at the Golden Globes next year!


The program kicked-off with the celebration of the CHA 2015 Industry Award Winners.

The CHA 2015 Industry Award Winners went to:

  • Meritorious Award: Herb Lantinga, Notions Marketing



  • Industry Achievement Award: LaDorna & Robert Eichenberg, Ellison


  • Special Recognition Award: Joann Pearson, Michaels


For more about the winners and the Industry Awards, read the press release here.

The program continued with the Exhibiting with Excellence awards, which went to those exhibitors who were judged on overall visual booth appeal; clarity of product being sold; access to make-n-takes; engaging booth flow; as well as enthusiasm and friendliness of Booth staff.

The winners of the CHA 2015 MEGA Show Exhibiting with Excellence Awards were:

  • Island & Peninsula Group – Spinrite


  • Linear Booth – ClearBags


  • New Exhibitor – Little B


  • Critic’s Choice – Spellbinders PaperArts


CHA’s President & CEO, Andrej Suskavcevic, provided an update on the CHA Foundation’s goals for the future, including partnering with other like-minded organizations to continue to drive the momentum of raising awareness for the need to devote more time for creative expression. In addition to the CRE8TIME movement, proceeds from the silent auction and raffle went to support the Kids in Need Foundation (KINF).

Gala17Every year for the past 12 years, CHA has partnered with KINF to harvest product from exhibitors of CHA Trade Shows, which has resulted in the collection and distribution of $1,591,019.75 worth of donated supplies to teachers and their students at the neediest of schools. The funds from the Gala that will be donated to KINF will be used to fund two grants that will help build art programs at a school in the CHA office’s home state of NJ. Dave Smith, the Executive Director, accepted the check on-behalf of KINF.

Gala18After dinner, it was time to award the 2015 Hot Products! 112 products were submitted this year – a record number! A celebrity and media judging panel selected the award winners based on what makes the product unique; how it will improve the crafter’s overall experience; and the interest it generates in crafting for non-crafters.

For the full list of the 2015 CHA Hot Product Winners click here.

The program concluded with the induction ceremony of the 2015 CHA Hall of Fame. This year’s class included:

  • John & Edna Clapper


  • Jane Anne Davis


  • Andrea Grossman


  • Howard Hoffman


  • Vince Naccarato


  • William “Bill” Neu


  • John E. “Jack” Parker


  • Tom Yaley, Sr.


What can we say besides, “What an evening!” Congratulations to all of the nominees, winners and the Hall of Fame class of 2015. We can’t wait to celebrate again next year!

Darice: Sixty Years of Crafting History and Still Going Strong!

By Paula Jones

darice 1This summer I received an invitation to visit the Darice facilities in Strongsville, Ohio. I knew that Darice was a large craft company with gazillions of craft products, but I had no idea of what to expect. Darice is a privately held, family run business and the family feel is immediately evident when you enter the facility. I visited the day after the company celebrated its sixtieth anniversary. There was a huge outdoor tent where they hosted a company wide picnic still on the lawn when I arrived. From the moment you stepped into the facility, whether it was being greeted by the friendly receptionist to the genuinely enthusiastic staff, the atmosphere was welcoming and a hive buzzing of creativity.
darice 2The fourteen thousand square foot show room was amazing! It is larger than most craft stores, complete with sample project ideas and “Trend Caps” so that visitors and retail buyers can be inspired and informed of their latest products and ideas. Local stores who purchase from the show room are given a scanner to scan the items they want and the information is sent directly to the warehouse for pick up or shipping to their store.

darice 3I was particularly impressed with the new “LockerLooks” product display which Darice predicts will be a big hit for the back to school season. It included glitter paper wall liners, fuzzy soft mini mats, a battery operated chandelier to hang at the top of the locker, and magnetic containers that held all of the accessories you could possibly imagine.

darice 5From the show room I was escorted through a maze of office suites and introduced to various departments.  Along all of the walls were motivational and inspirational posters. It was clear from speaking with the employees, many of whom had been with the company for decades, that the company practices what they preach.

darice 6The 500,000 square foot warehouse was overwhelming! The pick, pack and ship process was explained to me, and I was shown three levels of conveyor belts that feed various packing stations which are fully automated and help achieve over a 98% fill rate on each order.  There is a constant loading of huge transport trucks at docking stations and delivery of shipping containers from overseas sourcing. The automated system can track contents of shipping boxes, refill packing stations, identify customers preferred shipping methods and get it out of the building for the most part within less than 24 hours. Overseas shipments have special attention to detail to ensure everything is as perfect as possible and minimize the hassles of errors with tariff codes and import duties.

darice 8Darice also distributes for many companies, owns several previously independent companies and also has its own brand of products. The company ships to retail customers all over the world and gives back to their local community, which was evident from the various philanthropic endeavors in the town, including the local community complex.

darice 9After the warehouse I was given a tour through the rest of the office.  They have an entire department dedicated to marketing and social media, a “Darice University”, to upgrade employee training. Then it was on to my favorite area, research and development. The R&D department was like going to craft heaven. 3D printers, huge laser cutting machines, piles and piles of supplies to play with and ideas hanging from ceilings and walls.

darice 10I particularly loved the plastic tie and the necklace display chandeliers. The design staff could not wait to show me what they were working on and demonstrated how their tools worked and even cut out some samples for me. I was in designer heaven!  I also met the trade show booth designer who creates all of the cool ideas that they show in their CHA booths.

darice 11Next up was the play room where I met a gentleman whose job is to play with the products and come up with sample ideas to help promote them.  He was playing with a plastic fork, paint and a paper plate and created the picture to the left. The walls were floor to ceiling full of every imaginable craft product, I wanted to stay and play, fancy being paid to do that work, sign me up!

darice 12Next to R&D was the photo studio where the projects and products are photographed. Darice designs their own packaging and creates its own images. On the way back to the show room we passed by the wellness wall, which contains literature and information on employee health and benefits. Darice takes care of and values their employees.

The next day I was introduced to buyers from various craft segments that walked me through the show room again to show me the latest trends and hot products as well as upcoming projects. The bead and jewelry buyers explained the close links to fashion and how they spend significant time and energy following trends and pantone colors to predict and produce products ready for the next season release. The children’s craft buyer showed me how their own branded products integrate with other craft lines and how products are developed at different price points for various markets.

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The Director of Programing Planning and Sourcing showed me some of the products Darice had developed, how they contine to evolve and the process that Darice goes through to get products to market. For example, a children’s hand puppet program was developed at a low cost price point and included a door frame puppet stage. This program is now being upgraded with better packaging, QR Codes for more ideas to use in the open stock kits and even its own app, where kids can pick a puppet they have made and make a video on an iPhone about the character. The Director also shared a new secret project she is working on, and allowed me to share my ideas on how this product, currently thought of as a “grandma” craft, could be updated for children of the twenty first century.  I came away inspired and anxious to see how this project will develop.

Darice is an exceptional company. They imagine, innovate, source, create, test, safety approve, package, publish, market, educate through social media, display, sell through retailers, pick, pack, ship and provide support both to their retail and end user customers. After 60 years they are constantly evolving with the market, giving back to their community and caring for their employees, truly impressive. To learn more about Darice and their products go to

Gift Suite Success at the 66th Emmy Awards

Estelle Harris, “Seinfeld”

CHA members Spinrite, Clover Needlecraft, Sizzix and Plaid, participated in an off-site gifting suite hosted by the Borgine Group at the 66th Emmy Awards held in Los Angeles, California on August 23, 2014.

Stars from hit shows like Breaking Bad, Seinfield, True Blood, Glee and Happy Days took the time to create make-n-takes using the amazing products from the participating companies.

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Gregg Daniel, “True Blood”

I was so happy to have the celebrities take the time to sit and craft with us!” said Laura Hollar, Sizzix Community Manager. “They were all very kind and gracious with us and seemed to be really excited about Sizzix, too!”.

David DeLuise

David DeLuise, “Wizards of Waverly Place”

The sponsors captured photos and autographs of the celebrities using their products that they were able to post immediately on social media, and will later use to enhance their marketing efforts.

Marshall Williams

Marshall Williams, “How to Build a Better Boy”

“Spinrite L.P. is very excited to have participated in the 66th Emmy Awards Gifting Suite hosted by the Borgnine Group. It was a great opportunity to share our brands Paton’s and Bernat, with past, present, and future Emmy nominees, as well as our customers on social media!” Said Christa Baker, Brand Manager, Spinrite LP.

To view more photos taken at the gift suites, click here to view the CHA Facebook Page photo album. Search the #CHASwag and #CRE8TIME hashtags to view social media posts from the event.

If you are interested in participating in future Gift Suite events, contact Nidia Negron at or 201-835-1204.

Encouraging Kids to CRE8TIME


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Eli Draws are a family and a team supporting their young son Eli’s passion for being creative and transforming it into a brand where other parents and kids can participate in the exploration, learning and collaboration.

Eli Draws has partnered with CRE8TIME to help spread the word about the importance of creativity and engaging the younger generation to take time out to do the things they love.

In this blog post, Eli’s mother, Amanda, discusses the impact of creativity in our early lives – when creating was a priority, and gives ideas on how to engage and encourage children to #CRE8TIME for creativity.

Encouraging Kids to CRE8TIME

By Amanda Whitford Grundy
Eli Draws Education

This summer, we had the pleasure of having our 11 year old nephew and 6 year old niece from North Carolina stay with our family in New York City. We had lots of fun all over the city: exploring Governor’s Island, taking trips to the Bronx Zoo, going to the beach and having numerous playground adventures.


Although we had some great trips, one of my favorite moments was when we were at home one morning. The four kids (my nephew and niece along with my 6 year old and my 15 month old) were getting a little stir crazy in our New York apartment. I knew we had a birthday party to go to that night for a friend of mine, another mom who the kids all knew and loved from our summer zoo trips. I suggested the kids make her birthday cards and they jumped at the idea.



I got out stencils, crayons, markers, construction paper and the kids went to work. They were so thrilled to be making birthday cards for a friend and they put their heart, soul, and imaginations into their homemade card creations. Watching the kids made me remember my own childhood and how important making a birthday card for a friend can be. I posted on Facebook that I wished I could return to that time when creating something homemade for someone was my first priority.

When we think about encouraging our younger generation to be creative, we have to acknowledge that kids already elidraws_cre8time3possess the impulse to create, they just need adults to help with a few things.

1. An idea: Help kids to focus their imagination with an activity.
Some examples:
Make a birthday card
Put on a play
Make sock puppets

2. Time and space to be creative

Just like adults, kids have to carve out time for creativity from all the activities that vie for their attention, even if that activity might be annoying their little sister. Kids also need to know where it’s ok to work on their creative projects and where their projects can be kept safely and valued by others.


3. Tools to help their imagination come to lifeelidraws_cre8time5
Some examples:
Construction paper
Crayons, markers, colored pencils, pens
Simple costumes and props


4. Permission to make a mess and make a mistake:
Create a space where it’s ok for kids to get messy. We live in a New York City apartment, aka, a small space. We use inexpensive, plastic table cloths leftover from birthday parties to cover the dining table so the kids can use markers and glue worry free. And when kids make a mistake, an invaluable part of the creative process is teaching them how to turn that mistake into part of their project or that it’s ok to start over and try again.

Creating time to do things we love, and encourage our creativity. is not always the easiest thing to do even though it brings us joy. The same is true for the younger generation. It is much easier for them to sit in front of an electronic device and play a video game or watch a movie.  There is a time and a place for that, but teaching kids how to CRE8TIME for projects like making a friend a birthday card not only brings joy to the creator, but also brings joy to others.