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Archive | July 29, 2011

CHA Summer 2011 | American Crafts, Webster’s Pages, and Fancy Pants

Want more booth photos? Yes? I hope so, because I have plenty more to share with you today as we check out the offerings of American Crafts, Webster’s Pages, and Fancy Pants.

Design powerhouse American Crafts had a massive booth, and introduced several new lines at CHA Summer 2011.

Their popular line of albums got a refresh with some new designs added in with the old standbys.

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Popular fashion designer and scrapbooker to the stars Amy Tan made a huge splash with her new signature line called “Amy Tangerine”, generating lots of buzz both on and off the show floor.

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I love all the Thickers in her new lines, especially these with faux stitching drawn around the edges – so cute!

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American Crafts is known for certain signature embellishments (such as Thickers), and their Mixtapes are fast becoming one of those staples. The “Amy Tangerine” line features several new styles and patterns of this washi-style tape.

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Amy’s line is also bursting with extras such as clear stamps, ephemera, and letter stickers.

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American Crafts’ “Daydreams” line is a fun, feminine collection that sports a bright color palette and funky bold designs.

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The Thickers in this line are smaller than the normal letters that American Crafts produces, making this lover of tiny alpha stickers very happy indeed!

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“Night Fall” is American Crafts Halloween/Fall offering. There are only a few strictly Halloween themed papers in this line, and even those sheets have “B” sides that are neutral enough to use for general fall pages.

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“Hollyday” puts American Crafts’ signature graphic spin on a red, green, and silver color palette. Clean lines and mod designs make this a fun and cheerful collection!

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These candy cane striped Thickers are simply genius!!

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American Crafts also offers Christmas patterns in their popular Pow! glitter paper, famous for sparkly stuff that never flakes off.

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The “Garden Cafe” line, with its punchy flowers offset by deep browns, has a funky retro vibe about it.

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“Margarita” was American Crafts’ mid-season summer themed release and features all the bright, vibrant colors associated with the season.

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Webster’s Pages is known for their elegant designs both on paper and in their embellishments.

The “Western Romance” line features a soft country look filled with feminine touches such as painted cowgirl boots and flower covered mailboxes.

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Webster’s Pages is also known for innovative embellishments like these delicate feather flowers.

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The brightly colored “Let’s Celebrate” line would be perfect for scrapping birthdays.

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Webster’s Pages’ “All About Me” line features a pleasing color palette that will “play” well with many different types of photos and layout subjects. With its mix of pleasing patterns and gorgeous illustrations of every day (and some not so every day) objects, I could see this being a great candidate for use in a “Week in the Life” album.

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Webster’s introduced not one, but two Christmas lines at this CHA show! “Winter Fairy Tales” is filled with fanciful scenes and a soft color palette, while “Botanical Christmas” features bolder colors and a more traditional Christmas theme.

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Let’s round out this portion of our CHA Summer 2011 tour by stopping in at the Fancy Pants booth!

Fancy Pants’ new lines featured some of the most creative color combinations that I saw anywhere at the show. For instance their Christmas line, “Saint Nick”, has a mostly traditional color palette but adds a light shade of purple to just a few prints for added contrast and interest.

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Their fall line, “Summer’s End”, has the oranges and browns that you’d expect from a seasonal fall line but also includes a punchy shade of blue-green for an unexpected twist.

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And “Oct. 31st”, Fancy Pants’ Halloween line? It includes a bit of bright blue amongst the orange and purple! Not to mention all the lush damask prints scattered throughout.

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This piece of paper was my absolute favorite of the whole booth – it totally appealed to the geeky engineer in me!

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Fancy Pants was also one of the few companies offering a strictly “back-to-school” line. “Off to School” has been getting a lot of buzz on the blogs lately, and I predict that it will be a big seller this fall.

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Fancy Pants’ Brag Books were actually released at the Winter CHA show, but with the huge success of EK Success’s Smash books they were smart to bring them back to the summer show. Fancy Pants’ version of the blank journal trend is less decorative than the EK Success version, giving the scrapper full creative control over the final look of their project.

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Have you all been making your post-CHA shopping lists as you read these booth tour posts? I know I’ve been making mine as I write them! Don’t finalize that list just yet, though, because there’s so much more to come!

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CHA Summer 2011 | Bo Bunny, KI Memories, and Prima

Next up on Scrapbook Update’s tour of the CHA Summer 2011 show are the booths of Bo Bunny, KI Memories, and Prima. All of these companies brought some fantastic offerings to the table!

Bo Bunny introduced several new lines at this show, including a very vintage styled holiday line, “Father Christmas”

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All of the new Bo Bunny lines include some fantastic embellishments like these brads, trinkets, and buttons.

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I fell in love with “Et Cetera” right away – the ephemera patterns are right up my alley, and I know I’m not alone in that!

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These sticker sheets containing three sizes of alphabets, borders, and embellishment stickers are an excellent value.

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Bo Bunny’s “Sweet Tooth” line has such a fun color palette! The pinks and turquoise blues really pop.

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“Garden Girl” combines a rich plum tone (Scrapbook Update Contributing Editor May Flaum recently reported on the current plum trend in the industry) with a fun shade of coral and throws in some spring green for contrast.

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Bo Bunny’s “Welcome Home” line features lush patterns infused with fresh greens and blues.

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“Forever Fall’s” rich, gold-toned color scheme just screams to be paired with photos of fall leaves and pumpkin patches.

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KI Memories had some strong releases at the CHA Summer 2011 show. Their fall line, “Good Folk”, has a warm, folk-art vibe to it.

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KI Memories is another company releasing sets of elaborately patterned and decorated brads with each of its new lines. They’re also introducing their own patterned tapes that are printed on clear tape instead of the popular washi style tape.

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KI Memories definitely went with the bright and funky color palette choice for their “Holly Lane” Christmas collection. The colors are so cheery and festive!

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Fans of the old “Love, Elsie” line by Elsie Flanigan will likely find something familiar in the “Hot Date” collection. It features the doodled style and bright colors that Elsie’s lines were known for during her KI Memories days.

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KI Memories also introduced several new styles of their popular “Pockets.”

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The show floor was literally about half an hour from closing on the very last day when I visited the KI Memories booth, and many of the display layouts had already been packed up. The staff was very kind to get a few of them back out for me to photograph!

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Prima’s booth was covered inside and out with their gorgeous new releases. The “Romantique” line is filled with soft colors and sweet illustrations in the classic Prima style.

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The “Printery” collection is going to be a popular one! The neutral color palette makes it easy to mix with so many other paper lines and styles.

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Prima’s “Londonerry” line features an antique-style palette and loads of vintage images.

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“North Country” is a bit of a departure (though not an unwelcome one!) from Prima’s normal style. The colors are much brighter and the designs more clean and graphic than what we’re used to seeing from Prima, but I think it works very well for them!

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“Alla Prima” evokes the colors and feel of the ocean with its aqua and yellow color palette.

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Prima is, of course, well known for their massive selection of flowers and decorative branches.

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Wood embellishments are a hot item in the industry right now, and Prima’s wooden spool top buttons are right on trend!

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Prima also offered a large selection of resin and metal “Treasures” at the show, perfect for mixed media projects.

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They also had several new styles of cling mount stamps on display to coordinate with the new paper lines.

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Prima’s “Tiles” embellishments were generating a bit of buzz on the floor – another great item for mixed media and altered projects!

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Resistant Canvas and Masks are perfect for those who like to play with spray mists and inks in their projects.

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And of course the Prima booth was full of gorgeous projects from their talented design team. You really can’t appreciate the beauty and intricacy of these unless you see them in person. There’s a dimensionality that just gets lost in the photos, but I’ve tried to capture some of it here.

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Prima teamed up with Lilla Rogers to create the new “Ruby Violet” line, targeted at pre-teens and younger crafters.

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A selection of trinkets and baubles that snap into specialized necklaces and bracelets (no glue required) are available to mix and match into your own colorful creations.

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“Ruby Violet” also features a fun, brightly colored paper line.

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The booth tours continue on!!! Stay tuned – there’s a lot more to come!

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CHA Summer 2011 | Scrapbook Update Top Ten Hot Picks

It’s finally here! After lots of discussion with my staff, debate and agonizing on my part….I’ve made the final decisions and here are the Scrapbook Update Top Ten Hot Picks from CHA Summer 2011!

These are the lines that were truly new, that were fresh, that were buzzed about at the show, that were in demand by buyers, and that Scrapbook Update believes consumers are going to be clamoring for in the next few months.

So, in no particular order…let’s get started!

Lily Bee Design

Like I mentioned in my previous article about Lily Bee Design from CHA Summer, this company achieved something rare for a show release – an entire batch of new collections that are all home runs. All four of the company’s new lines for CHA Summer 2011 are downright usable, an important difference from some lines that are beautiful to look at but difficult to actually execute using.

Memorandum is especially notable because all of the backsides are office paper designs, a theme that has been trendy but that is also becoming something of an industry staple. Paired with classic, elegant vintage designs on the front side, this collection could have a long shelf life.

The other “general purpose” line is called Head Over Heels, and while probably technically intended for the valentine’s day market, it can serve as a beautiful vintage look for a wide variety of projects and topics. The color palette is very trendy and the floral design that unites the palette of all the patterns is just beautiful. The line’s other patterns include a full range of currently trendy elements: damask, doilies, sheet music, stripes, lace and dots.

Fans of Lily Bee’s cardstock alphabet sheets won’t be disappointed, as the new releases are accompanied by some beautiful coordinating alphabet options. Of particular note is the floral alphabet option that coordinates with the Head Over Heels line:

The rest of the line’s embellishments are just as beautiful, and the 6×6 paper pads will make these patterns – in their scaled down form – indispensible to card makers.

Lily Bee’s fall and holiday themed lines (Harvest Market and Jingle) are also extremely versatile (one of Scrapbook Update’s favorite words). They will be perfect for everything from layouts to cards and decorations.

Echo Park Paper

No surprise here, because they consistently put out great stuff, but Echo Park Paper just about entirely nailed their CHA Summer 2011 collections as well. They were one of the companies that chose to do two separate holiday themed lines with two very different looks to appeal to a wide range of crafters.

Echo Park is one of the many companies that debuted beautiful brad assortments at CHA Summer 2011 (watch for an article soon from Scrapbook Update on that topic!), and their large assortments coordinating with their holiday collections are sure to please crafters of all kinds of projects.
The Halloween line, Apothecary Emporium, has incredible possibilities as well. These were demonstrated beautifully by the samples in the booth:

Echo Park’s mid-cycle release, Victoria Gardens, that is just hitting stores, is full of pastel vintage goodness that will be snapped up by papercrafters for a variety of everyday uses.

My Mind’s Eye

How does this company keep putting such massive releases that are so beautiful? Their releases are always among the largest on the show floor and yet rarely contain many items that fall flat. Like Echo Park (mentioned above), My Mind’s Eye was another company that decided to cater to the huge Christmas market by introducing two holiday collections, one vintage (“Lost and Found Christmas”) and one bright in style (“12 Days of Christmas”).

But the real star of the show for My Mind’s Eye was Lost and Found Two, the sequel to the stunning Lost and Found collection. Another huge collection like the original, this collection follows beautiful in the style footsteps of the original and is sure to be a hit with consumers.

My Mind’s Eye also committed fully to the trend for 6×6 paper pads in the papercrafts market, introducing a collection called Six by Six that consists of twelve paper pads exclusively avaiable in the 6×6 size.

Basically Bare

New exhibitor Basically Bare specializes in producing die cut items from chipboard, acrylic and corrugated material that can be used in all types of papercrafts and mixed media projects. Their booth was absolutely packed when I visited it on Thursday.

While the concept of their products is simple (and not completely new), the scale of their products is larger than competitors and well-suited to the new mixed media projects that are becoming increasingly popular. Also, corrugated cardboard is becoming quite trendy due to the rise of mixed media and they offer a wide range of corrugated, including mini albums sure to be popular with consumers looking for a different type of surface to experiment with.

Bella Blvd – “Making The Team” collection

Sometimes, I hear so much about a single collection from a company that it warrants its own spot on the Hot Picks list. “Making The Team” from Bella Blvd was just such a collection at CHA Summer 2011. It invariably seemed to come up when I asked anyone what they had seen so far at the show that excited them. The big excitement seemed to be that “Making The Team” is a sports collection that is unisex, great for making projects for boys or girls, and that it is flexible across a lot of sports as well.

Why all the excitement about a themed line? As much attention as is paid to the non-themed trends such as vintage, a sizable segment of the scrapbook market still creates in a heavily themed way.  A line like “Making the Team” that seems to instantly speak to scrapbookers as filling a niche they’ve been missing will find a large market easily.

Amy Tan for American Crafts

This line was heavily buzzed about at the show by attendees excited to see it debut. American Crafts has had huge success previously with a signature line from Liz Kartchner called “Dear Lizzie”, and it looks like history is about to repeat itself with the introduction of Amy Tan’s “Amy Tangerine” signature line.

“Amy Tangerine” is a perfect fit for American Crafts’ fun, graphic style, and Amy Tan brings an avid fan base to the table both within and outside the crafts industry that will move her product in stores.

One of the most heavily buzzed-about items in the Amy Tangerine collection was the new mixtape (already a popular item for American Crafts) designs that accompany it.

Studio Calico

This company has fast become an industry powerhouse since debuting as a wholesale company at CHA Winter 2010. This may be the most solid release yet from Studio Calico, anchored by the Classic Calico line of neutral brown basics that are sure to have a long shelf life and be used – and reused – by crafters of all kinds.

It wasn’t just Classic Calico getting the buzz, however. Show attendees seemed just as enamored with “Memoir” and “Autumn Press”. These collections will be pleasing to fans of both the vintage and graphic styles that seem to be dueling for dominance in the industry at the moment – which is perhaps the ultimate secret of Studio Calico’s success.

The accompanying embellishments are what Studio Calico has been known for since their kit club days – their signature twist on graphic, making it somehow elegant and even somehow vintage. Their new partnership with Hero Arts has brought rubber stamps into the collection, and they continue to produce embellishments that are simple but have impact (like the wood items from previous shows). This time around it is die cut kraft stickers, labels, and beautiful alphabets getting all the buzz. Well, almost all the buzz – the company’s new 6×6 paper pads were crowd favorites as well.

October Afternoon

Their heavily western-themed booth made a statement on the show floor, and October Afternoon’s collections made an impression on show attendees as well.

The western-themed line “Sasparilla” charmed many attendees, and stood out among the heavy crop of Halloween and Christmas products that populated the show. Despite the line’s seeming to have heavy theming, all of the patterned papers have at least one side that is actually usable for a wide range of generic topics, making the line versatile for both retailers and consumers while still providing some fun.

Very different from “Sasparilla” but still in October Afternoon’s signature style was “Sidewalks” – a beautiful, bright and happy line for scrapping children and back-to-school. 

One heavily buzzed-about product at October Afternoon was the Sprinklers. In a market saturated with spray ink products, their products are attracting a lot of attention for both their color palette and their pigment ink formulation.

The Crafter’s Workshop

As papercrafters are experimenting more with mixed media techniques, their interest in products like templates to use with mediums like inks and paints has grown significantly. The Crafter’s Workshop has quickly become the industry’s template of choice, and at CHA Summer 2011 they added a strong new pull to their catalog – designs by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.

Balzer (seen above using her incredible talent for teaching in The Crafter’s Workshop booth) brings an artsy, offbeat design aesthetic to a product that could otherwise be staid and boring. Through her template designs, she is bringing a new dimension of style to the papercrafting world – one that seems to be being well-received, and which may open the industry to a whole new market of crafters.

Jillibean Soup

And last, but not least…there’s Jillibean Soup! This is yet another company that consistently turns out good, reliable product lines that both consumers and retailers can come back to time and again.

Their holiday line “Christmas Eve Chowder” contained a popular icon for this show: Penguins. We predict that the bright, colorful line will be popular in both its full-size version and in the 6×6 paper pad version for making cards and other small holiday projects.

Jillibean also previewed another holiday line that was heavily buzzed about – for Valentine’s Day. “Hearty Barley Soup”, with a palette of pink and red and white on a kraft background, was a heavy favorite of show attendees.

The company’s several other lines, all in bright colors, were also buzzed-about heavily at the show as crowd favorites for various seasons. Jillibean released lines that spanned summer to Valentine’s Day – a wide range of options to choose from.

But perhaps above all, the star of Jillibean’s introductions was their embellishments. They made a small, important change to their paper embellishments (cardstock alphabets and stickers) – they are now printed on matte finish paper for ease of writing on, inking, distressing, etc. The company’s button assortments are beautiful, and along with their soup label sheets, are sure to be popular with the growing market of card makers in the industry.

So…there they are…the Scrapbook Update CHA Summer 2011 Hot Picks list! It was a difficult decision, and there were many successful companies and products that didn’t make the list since we can only pick ten. But we believe that these are the true standouts in the crowd…and we can’t wait to see what they and everyone else will bring to Anaheim in January 2012!

[Editor's Note: Many thanks to Scrapbook Update Contributing Writer Melissa Stinson for contributing the fabulous photography for this article.]

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