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Archive | February 21, 2011

Cricut Celebrates 5th Birthday At CHA Winter 2011

What’s a fun loving bug to do on his (or is it her?) 5th birthday? For Provo Craft’s Cricut bug, the obvious answer was to celebrate in a big way, naturally!  CHA Winter 2011 marked the 5th “birthday” for Provo Craft’s Cricut machine, and so the company decided it was time to celebrate!

To kick off, the company launched the celebration with a special “anniversary” edition of the popular Cricut Expression Machine. This limited edition release machine, known as the E2, will be making its appearance in stores sometime in April. On first look at the machine, the body seems a bit sleeker and it feels noticeably lighter in weight. The added feature of a lighted cutting area is intended to help users see exactly what and where the machine is cutting.

The E2 will also have a LED touch screen control. This new feature eliminates the need to use overlays on the keypad, and allows layers to display on the machine’s display. Cutting will also be able to be paused in the middle, a feature intended for use when paper starts to shift on the mat to allow corrections. Users will also have  a home and zoom feature and the ability to cut out Cricut Imagine shapes (but not the ability to print the Imagine images.)

Provo Craft also announced their upcoming “online design studio” computer software called the “Cricut Craft Room” in Los Angeles. From the test version, it appears to be a more user-friendly version of the company’s existing Cricut Design Studio software. Users will be able to weld words with the click of their mouse.  They will also be able to “link” cartridges to their Craft Room (similar to the Gypsy’s current operation) and then cut images by hooking a Cricut to their computer. The Cricut Craft Room will also be compatible with the new E2 machine via Wi-Fi.

The birthday celebration/promotion was definitely Cricut’s theme on the show floor. Attendees at the show were invited into Provo Craft’s booth to create a 5th birthday cupcake featuring Provo Craft’s Cricut Cake machine, and given a clip-on stuffed “Cricut”  bug. They were then asked to photograph Cricut in creative places throughout the rest of the show, and given a chance to make a “Where’s Cricut” decorated frame for their pictures. The best “Where’s Cricut” photos were featured during Provo Craft’s big daily giveaway, and prizes were given to the winning photographers.

Cricut also celebrated its 5th birthday in a big way at the exclusive Conga Room located at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. Attendees were met with food and drinks and shown a light-hearted video on how Cricut came to join the Provo Craft family and why they had to create the Cricut machine just for him (her?) Then, the crowd was surprised by an appearance by dancers from the popular Fox TV show “So You Think You Can Dance?”, who joined the party goers to celebrate Cricut’s birthday. (Author Betsy Burnett is pictured below with Twitch from So You Think You Can Dance?”) To end the evening, all attendees received a goodie bag with a large plush version of Cricut, a Cricut t-shirt, the Birthday Bash Cricut cartridge and the promise of receiving the new E2 machine when it was released.

The Cricut Expression 2, known as the E2, will be a limited-run machine, and will make it’s retail debut on HSN on April 26th, 2011. The MSRP for the machine is set at $399, which is the same as the previous Cricut Expression models. The Cricut Craft Room is expected to launch in April of  2011, and the Wi-Fi compatibility update is due to be released a couple of months later.

Pre-order Mark Montano’s latest book, The Big-Ass Book of Home Decor, available at Amazon.com April 10th:

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Charity Wings holds Charity Event Live from CHA Show Floor

Charity Wings started the 2011 year by holding their first ever “Live at CHA” event during the CHA Winter 2011 Conference & Trade Show in Los Angeles. They invited crafters that were not able to attend the show to catch a glimpse through Ustream of the manufacturers and their new products, and let them travel the show floor a bit to see the booths and even win a prize or two. Industry personalities like Jenni Bowlin, Anna Griffin, Teresa Collins, and Melissa Forsyth & Candy Rosenberg (from the Rubber Cafe, pictured below) stopped by to take part in the live event.

For a $48 fee, Live from CHA participants received a bag filled with 5 make-n-takes and goodies from event sponsors. Charity Wings also raised money for Crops of Luv at the event through manufacturer and designer-donated items that were put up for auction on ebay during (and after ) the Live from CHA event.

Charity Wings volunteers (such as Karen Poirier-Brode, pictured below) also helped out in the Westcott booth with make-and-takes. Westcott, a Charity Wings sponsor, features the Charity Wings logo on their product packaging and helps raise money for the Charity Wings Fund to cover operating costs for the organization.

This year also marks an increased partnership between Charity Wings and Scrapbook Expo, with Charity Wings agreeing to host all of the crops for Scrapbook Expo’s 2011 season.

For Charity Wings founder Elena Lai Etcheverry, all of this started from having a willing heart to help raise money at a Susan B. Komen breast cancer crop. She had so much fun with the crop she decided that she needed to help with the next one – and even joined the committee to help run the event.

It was after this experience she realized charitable work was something she wanted to do all year long. Scrapbook Royalty was born. With a talent for motivating crafters and having a wide network of crafters, retailers,  and manufacturers to work with, Etcheverry decided she could really help organize and creatively inspire crafters that might not know where to start raise money for their favorite charity.

Scrapbook Royalty’s first event in 2006 for the American Heart Association raised $2500. Participants enjoyed the event so much they immediately started planning the next one…and then another, and another.  American Heart Association, Susan B Komen foundation, Autism awareness/research and Crops of Luv are just a few of the organizations Scrapbook Royalty has helped to raise money for.

Realizing that Scrapbook Royalty was becoming something greater than its founder had imagined, the organization applied for non-profit status in 2008. In 2009, Etcheverry was joined in her work by another charitable crafter, Sheila Goldsberry, and they changed the organization’s name to Charity Wings to encompass all types of crafters and better describe their mission.

In 2010, the 100% volunteer-run organization lent a hand with 37 events across the country that raised money for over 27 different charities. According to Charity Wings’ figures; the organization has raised over $347,000 for various charitable causes during their 5 year history. Their participation in events can range from coordinating the entire event and finding sponsors, to just helping to advertise the event. In addition, they hold online raffles, do “fairy fly-bys” (giveaways) at events, and even have a monthly “do good” challenge with their “Club Royalty”. These challenges for the most part encourage members to use their crafts in some way to help the charity’s cause of the month.

To learn more about Charity Wings and their upcoming events, visit the Charity Wings website.

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