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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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15 Responses to CHA Summer 2011 | Scrapbook Update Top Ten Hot Picks

  1. Christy Schumacher July 29, 2011 at 4:05 am #

    Everything looks so yummy and colorful!!! I cannot wait to get my hands on some of these items! Thanks for bringing this to us :)

    Smiles!
    Christy

  2. Kathleen Loughran July 29, 2011 at 5:00 am #

    Nancy, would you could you please elaborate on October Afternoon’s sprinklers? What is it about the formula that makes say their white better than SC Mister Huey’s? Thanks!

    • Nancy Nally July 29, 2011 at 10:22 am #

      Kathleen, the hot picks list isn’t intended to say that the Sprinklers are better or worse than any other spray ink. The mention on the hot picks list is about the fact that they were heavily buzzed about by attendees at the show, and the reasons I listed in the article were the reasons that were given to me by attendees who told me they liked the Sprinklers. The list is NOT in any way intended as a full review of the product – instead, it is a report on the likely success of the product in the marketplace based on various factors observed at the show.

  3. AllisonLP July 29, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    All sooo beautiful! If I only had to pick 1, from the 10, it would have to be the Lily Bee Memorandum collection kit. I don’t even think I own any Lily Bee products, but the B side of those papers and the alpha sheet will be mine as soon as it’s available! Trust me! :)

  4. Nina July 29, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    I am truly, truly in love with the entire My Mind’s Eye line. Have been using the L & F “1″ on my new granddaughter’s photos and they looks so great. Can’t wait to get all of L & F 2!!!

  5. Mary L July 29, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    I have so enjoyed your coverage of CHA. Thank you. I look forward to seeing these products (online since i live in scrapbook nowhere) and getting my hands on some!

  6. Cynthia July 29, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    It’s all beautiful! I’m lovin’ those templates by The Crafter’s Workshop!

  7. Judy Webb July 29, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    Yes!! About some lines being too complicated to use. In the past I tried, but going to spend my $$$ on lines that are easier for ME. Thanks for showing all these goodies. We in the hinderlands appreciate.

  8. Donna C July 29, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    Great article Nancy and great photos Melissa! i can see the plum trend is here, and I’m not sure about it yet. although when paired with neutrals and in “pint” size doses i think it’s beautiful. Shades of purple are always challenging for me…..they are also not as present in nature, so maybe that’s part of it.
    Hopefully the Lily Bee line looks better IRL. I’m not feeling it in the photos. Amy Tan’s line is going to be a HUGE hit, I think. When you have a face and internet presence to go with a line, I think it is some of the smartest marketing you can do! Just like Elizabeth Kartchner did for “Dear Lizzy”. Charming and talented ladies sell product!!
    I want the entire Amy Tangerine line……now to sell my Basic Grey notch tool and a few other things collecting dust in my studio to buy more!! LOL!

  9. karen keiper July 30, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    jillibeans valentines line does look nice. who am i kidding, they all look nice!!! The hardest thing is always choosing.

  10. Erin Yamabe August 1, 2011 at 1:25 am #

    Hi Nancy,
    I always appreciate all you share on your site. I worked the show, so didn’t get alot of time outside to walk around…great to see all that you and your team drew attention to!
    Erin

  11. Pat Carmody August 1, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    Love Julie Fei Fan Balzer’s creativity and style. She’s bringing “art” into scrapbooking. Love all her many techniques. It’s fun watching her grow as an artist, before our very eyes! Go Julie!!!

  12. Gabby August 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    TONS OF CONGRATS TO Julie Blazer! She has incredible talent and is so innovative and creative. Her stencil line is amazing … and so is she! WE LOVE YOU JULIE! :)

  13. Gab August 2, 2011 at 4:57 am #

    Thanks for that great wrap up Nancy! I can’t believe how popular penguins are in Christmas papers!

  14. Nonnie August 3, 2011 at 2:17 am #

    loved that new my mindś eye lost and found 2…

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