Behind the Scenes at CHA Winter 2012

I always get lots of questions about what it’s like to attend the Craft & Hobby Association trade shows. So I thought I’d take some time and give you a peek behind the curtain at my life during my trip to the recent CHA show in Anaheim, California.

The primary word that comes to mind about CHA is exhausting, as the days are way too long and way too busy, and the trip is bookended on each end by what is usually a lengthy flight for me.

So here’s some random images of CHA from my point of view…

Like most attendees I was glad to be back at the Anaheim Convention Center for this year’s winter CHA show after the venue being Los Angeles last year. There’s plenty of extremely convenient hotels in Anaheim (I especially like the Marriott and Hilton pictured below that sit right next to the convention center). The convention center also has decent (if not affordable) food for a convention center and is easy to navigate.

Seeing all the hills that surround the LA area off in the distance on the horizon is very weird to someone who comes from mostly flat as a pancake Florida.

Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure sit literally at the back door of the Anaheim Convention Center – this picture is taken from a lanai on the roof of the center, looking at the Tower of Terror and the back of some other scenery from California Adventure. For a Disney fanatic like myself, this temptation is just too much to resist!

Scrapbook Update’s resident Disney fanatics, May Flaum and I, did what many CHA attendees do and spent most of Saturday (the day before the show floor opened) at Disneyland.

But then it was time to get to work…because that is really what CHA is all about!

Seeing people is one of the best parts – and most important jobs – at CHA. There’s friends that I’m happy to see, business associates, and industry experts whose knowledge I want to soak up. (And many who fall into multiple categories!)

I stopped by the Technique Tuesday booth – always want to see their new stuff – to see Ali Edwards and do her make & take. Ali’s a frequent guest of ours on Paperclipping Roundtable, so it was great to talk to her in person at CHA for once!

You better not mind crowds if you want to see a Tim Holtz demo! This is about average, although I’ve seen worse. It’s well worth planning to spend some time and jostling to get a good view though, as Tim is a font of information about his products and his demos are never the same twice. He always seems to go off on some unplanned topic that is highly educational in response to an audience question. I’ve picked up tons of fabulous little things just listening to him talk during his demos. And of course the demos themselves are always wonderful too!

Ranger has a way of finding the most amazing people and creating products with them. Brit designer Dyan Reavely was added to Ranger’s line of signature designers at CHA Winter 2012. I hadn’t expected to be as excited by her CHA debut as I ended up being, given that her signature style of doodle-y drawing is not really my “thing”. The reason is that Dyan in person is an irresistible force! You can’t help but smile watching her demo. Her joy in what she does is contagious. I love the photo above that I took of her demoing. The blurred hands and book pages really evoke the speed with which she works.

After a few minutes of watching Dyan throw ink around with abandon with her stencils and sprays and paper towel…you are not only convinced that you want to do that but that you can, because her demos are so easy to follow. That is the mark of a great instructor. I’ve already been playing at home with some of the ink techniques I saw her demo and been pleased with the results. I can’t wait to get my hands on her palette of spray inks – the brilliant colors are amazing.

And with Wendy Vecchi and Claudine Hellmuth there as well doing their magic…I could hang out in the Ranger booth all day just soaking up tips!

It’s always great to catch up with the folks at Stampavie, like co-owner Heidi Johnston. (And Heidi’s husband, Stampavie co-owner Stuart Johnston, is also wonderful to have around because he can make us look this good on camera!)

Two Nancy’s in one photo! It’s fabulous at CHA to get a chance to meet up in person with some of Scrapbook Update’s long-time readers, like the wonderful Nancy Grant. It’s always a delight to see her.

The ever-fabulous May Flaum did a book signing in the F + W booth for her recent book, Scrapbook Workshop. (That’s Scraptime’s Christine Urias snapping her picture!)

Bodyguard Melissa Stinson is of the opinion that papparazzi harassment of Ms. Flaum should cease and desist. Immediately. Or risk a demonstration of her black belt martial arts skills.

One of the highlights of the west coast shows recently are always the get-togethers to tape an episode of Paperclipping Roundtable! It’s so great to see Izzy and Noell and sit all together in a room while we enjoy taping the show!

Having everyone together – the hosts, the panel, and a studio audience, too – makes for a really special time taping the show. This time around we had Ali Edwards, Stacy Julian and Angie Lucas on the panel with a cameo by Shimelle Laine.

To find a career where you get to count your colleagues as your friends is an amazing thing, and one of the great things about working in this industry. Roundtable is the epitome of that aspect of my work.

Learning is the whole point of the show, so it’s always great when I can take a good workshop like this one on Mixed Media that was put on by Cloth Paper Scissors. (Yes, I did spend the whole workshop petrified I was going to get ink and/or paint on my light colored sweater! Such is the difficulty of getting creative in your good clothes…)

Fashion takes a big role for a lot of women at CHA, but sometimes it feels pointless to try too hard or too accessorize, since you unavoidably end up with some of the most unfashionable accessories layered on top of your outfit: Show credentials, a camera, and a tote bag. (photo by May Flaum)

So there you have it, a peek of what it is like to go to CHA…the only thing missing is the hotel room that looks like an explosion hit it and photos of crappy, usually very unhealthy, food. I’ll spare you that horror!

And when it is all done…

…I wave bye bye to California as we soar over the beach towards the Pacific Ocean! See you next year, Anaheim!


5 Responses to Behind the Scenes at CHA Winter 2012

  1. Gela65 February 25, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

    I hope you realize what an enviable position you are in every CHA. To go to CHA ……aaaah a girl can dream. I was in that same spot yesterday for a ScrapExpo. I kept thinking I was in the same spot you and the PRT gang were just a few weeks ago……sigh. I have a PRT subject: What is with this Disney obsession. You have mentioned you go to Disney several times a year. Tim Holtz also visits frequently. He mentioned he was going again for Leap Day. Steph from the Daily Digi even mentioned she listens to a podcast about all things Disney. A coworker of mine goes to Disney once a month almost. I don’t get it. Very intriguing. Thanks for the CHA coverage this past weeks at Scrapbook Update

  2. Sara Grafton February 26, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    Thanks for this view of CHA!

  3. CIndy deRosier February 26, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    Thanks for this behind-the-scenes look. I’ve only been to CHA once and my experience (as a buyer) was a bit different than yours. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I’d really hoped to be able to go to this show, but it didn’t work out.

  4. Lysa March 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    Hi Nancy,
    I just loved this years coverage of CHA. You and your team did an amazing job. I watched everyone of Noell’s videos and drooled over the products. I listened to the round table and hung on just about every word. I would love to attend one day just to see the action. During the round table it was discussed that CHA has truly moved back to the business of business. At first I wasn’t sure I was on board with that thought process but then I realized it is true. You are buyers that are there to do business. I think I had a bit of the green eyed monster lurking as I was listening. I think mostly because Noell’s coverage of the DCWV booth. Oh to see those displays! they were AWESOME! Thanks for everything. I truly got a feel for what is coming down the crafty pike.

    • Nancy March 5, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

      Noell & Izzy truly do a fabulous job with the Paperclipping videos from CHA! We all in the media try to do our best to bring you the best of the creativity that is on display at CHA as well as the products…thanks for letting us know that is important to you so that we can remember to focus on that next time!

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