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Author Archive | Nancy Nally

T-Shirt Fun with Cricut Easy Press 2!

I hate ironing. Really, who doesn’t? And because of that, I rarely use Iron-On despite my love of all the cool things that can be done with it. Wrestling with the setting up the ironing board, playing defense against rampaging kids and cats for what seemed like forever until the iron was ready to use…and then the trial and error of trying to get the temperature and time right.

Those days are behind me, because that was before I met Cricut Easy Press 2!

[Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut, but all opinions are my own.]

Scrappy Mom T-Shirt with Cricut Easy Press 2

Now, I want to Iron-on ALL THE THINGS!

And with the new Cricut Strongbond™ Guarantee, I can – because Cricut guarantees that if Cricut Strongbond™ Iron-On is used as directed, I’ll be satisfied or they’ll replace it for free! It’s designed to last 50 wash and dry cycles!

My Cricut Easy Press 2 is the 9×9 size, but it’s also available in 6×7 and 12×10 sizes. When I first read the instructions I was skeptical that it could really complete an iron-on in around a minute. It seemed too good to be true. But I was stunned to discover that in fact, yes, even clutzy me really can finish an iron-on that fast with the Easy Press 2! It’s unbelievable how quickly the Easy Press 2 heats up, and once it does, an iron-on can be applied in only a few seconds.

Here’s a closer look at the logo I created on my t-shirt:

Scrappy Mom T-Shirt Design

Supplies Used:

My file in Cricut Design Space (click here) is sized for a Men’s XXL t-shirt. For smaller shirt sizes, you may need to adjust the size of the design by resizing the group.

Cricut Design Space Scrappy T-Shirt

The patterned elements are made with Cricut Martha Stewart Patterned Iron-On in Wildflower. These coordinating designs are so pretty! I can’t wait to make more projects with the leftovers from my package!

Cricut Martha Stewart Patterned Iron-On

The patterned iron-on has a texture something like a super lightweight canvas. It cut like absolute butter with my regular blade and on the same Light Grip Cutting Mat that I usually use for iron-on.

Cricut Maker cutting Patterned Iron-On

I always use my Cricut Basic Tool Set to work with iron-on and vinyl…the weeding tool is an absolute must for getting out the small inner pieces like the inside of these scissor handles!

Weeding Cricut Patterned Iron-On

The best part about using my Cricut Easy Press 2 is that I could do all of this right in my craft room! My Cricut Easy Press 2 sat in its Safety Base right on my regular craft table while it heated. Then I used the Cricut Easy Press Mat to protect my table while I did the iron-on application to my shirt.

Cricut Easy Press 2

I started my design by placing the center element (the heart) and pressing it in place following the instructions for my Cricut Easy Press 2. With the Cricut Easy Press Quick Reference Guide, I knew exactly what temperature to set my Easy Press 2 at, and how long to press my iron-on. And using the machine’s timer, I couldn’t get the time wrong!

Cricut Easy Press 2 project in progress

Once I had the heart correctly in place, it was easy to build my other design elements around it! The text element was slightly wider than my Cricut Easy Press 2, so I started pressing in the center and worked out to the edges.

Using the Cricut Easy Press 2

In only a few minutes of pressing, I was done! Thanks to the ceramic coated heat plate on the Cricut Easy Press 2, it was easy to get perfect (and secure) application. I look forward to wearing and enjoying this shirt for a long time!

Scrappy Mom T-Shirt with Cricut Easy Press 2

What could you do with the quick and easy iron-on capability of the Cricut Easy Press 2

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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American Crafts Buys EK Success

American Crafts announced today that they have bought EK Success and its family of papercrafting brands from Wilton Brands.

EK Success Sticko show booth

[Disclosure: This article contains Amazon affiliate links that pay this site a commission at no cost to the reader when a purchase is made after a click.]

EK Success is the fourth acquisition made by American Crafts in barely over 18 months. In 2017, the company acquired Core’dinations, DCWV’s paper division, and BoBunny Press. This marks by my count the tenth acquisition made by American Crafts, starting with its acquisition of Pebbles in 2009.

The acquisition of EK Success brings EK Tools, Sticko, Jolee’s, and K&Company into the American Crafts family of brands. EK Success products occupy significant shelf space at the major craft chain stores. But despite this the EK brands have been hobbled by the scrapbooking downturn (and financial issues at WIlton) and no longer carry quite the same market clout or cachet that they did 15 years ago at the height of the scrapbooking boom. However, the marketing and sales power of American Crafts should improve the brands’ market trajectory.

American Crafts said in the acquisition announcement that new products are planned for the EK brands. The entire EK Success design and product development staff is staying on to ensure what American Crafts calls “design integrity” as EK moves forward at its new corporate home.

Wayne Mitchell, CEO of American Crafts, says EK Success’ lineup of stickers, paper crafting and tools strongly appeal to a wide variety of crafters. “I’m excited to welcome the entire EK Success team to American Crafts,” says Mitchell. “Names like Jolee’s, Sticko, K&Company and EK Tools are simply iconic in our industry. We’re thrilled to work with such a talented team to develop even more amazing products we know crafters will love.”

Sue Buchta, CEO of Wilton Brands, says she is pleased that the EK Success team has found a new home at American Crafts. “The members of the EK Success team are incredibly talented and dedicated” says Buchta. “We appreciate how they’ve shared their time and talent with Wilton and EKSB over the years and wish them the very best. I can’t imagine a better fit for this team and these brands than with an industry leader like American Crafts.”

This is the second major divestment in less than a year for Wilton. Late last year the company sold off Simplicity Creative Group to CSS Industries. That deal (which included the Simplicity, Wrights, Boye, Dimensions, and Perler brands) caused some controversy at the time because it brought large pattern makers Simplicity and McCalls under the same corporate parent. It appears that with this second transaction Wilton is now left to focus only its food crafting brands. Food crafting is currently a trendy and growing craft market segment. The trend is being fed in significant part by the popularity among millennials of YouTube stars like Rosanna Pansino, creator of the Nerdy Nummies web series. Pansino, who is about to release the follow-up to her bestselling Nerdy Nummies cookbook, has launched a Nerdy Nummies baking product line aimed at the youth market that is produced by Wilton.

EK Success products will continue to ship from the current Wilton warehouse through September. EK Success products will then begin shipping in October from the American Crafts warehouse in Utah, after what is estimated to be a 10 day down time to move inventory. Distributors will continue as normal. Orders for EK Success products may be placed with American Crafts starting immediately.

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Design Team Call | Bad Girls Couture (9/15)

For our readers’ convenience, Scrapbook Update publishes the full text of select design team calls, with the company name and deadline in the header.

To see a page listing all of these published calls, visit the Design Team Calls category of Scrapbook Update.

To have your company’s design team call published, contact nancy [at] nallystudios.com.


Bad Girls Couture Design Team Call

2018-2019

www.badgirlscouture.com
Entry Period: 9/1/18-9/15/18

Open to all US and INTERNATIONAL Artists

Wanna be BAD??!!!!

Bad Girls Design Team Call 2018

Bad Girls Couture is a private label manufacturer specializing in state of the art mixed media , art journals, home decor, and authentic vintage products. Bad Girls Couture prides ourselves on being a green company, helping to sustain our environment by manufacturing products that are eco friendly. We believe in providing our community with an exceptional experience through a team of artists who come together to teach, inspire, and instill an ever evolving atmosphere of innovation. Matter of fact… if you are a RULE BREAKER then you are in the right place! We are looking for artists who create art with no fear and are not afraid to break every single rule, push the envelope, and who have no boundaries! If you want to join the best in the industry and at the same time gain some really good exposure, enjoy great perks, and get to create with some of the best products then you are who we are looking for

Qualifications:

Passion for creating art and projects with a broad knowledge of mixed media, and the ability and desire to grow as an artist and try new products.

You must be adept at working with acrylic paint, art journals, mediums (gesso, moulding paste, gel medium, clear gesso, etc.)

Proficient with excellence in photography and knowledge of video taping tutorials and classes.

Must have prior design team experience with knowledge of typical duties and the mixed media art industry.

Must work well under pressure and tight deadlines.

Must be a team player and participate in Bad Girls promotions and contests

Must be active on at least two of the top social media sites (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, & Twitter)

Must have a current blog and YouTube account.

Other manufacturer and kit club design teams are acceptable. Our paint line is 27 different custom and
unique colors and we expect our design team members to promote our paint solely in your online and print work.

You must be able to contribute a minimum of 1 video tutorial and 2-3 blog posts per month.

You must be able to commit to posting all your work for us on your social media, blog, and online galleries where permitted.

Graphic design experience is not required, but a definite plus.

Bad Girls Couture paint

Entry Requirements:

Submit a combination of 4 projects/layouts…at least one MUST BE a project, or give us a link to a gallery on a social media account that features a good selection of your artwork. Make sure this is your best work and it epitomizes your unique style and abilities.

Submit your resume, links to any online galleries, your blog, your social media accounts, and anything else you deem highlights the exposure of your art, social media, and ability to advertise it.

Please indicate which design teams you are currently on.

Tell us why you would like to be a BAD GIRL! What makes you a good fit for our team? What would you like for us to know about you?

You may submit your completed entry to: Admin@BadGirlsCouture.com

In the subject line please write “Design Team Entry/Your Name”. Include your name, address, email address, phone number.

Artists will be notified by 09/17/18. We will have a meeting in September and your official term will begin!

Luscious Design Team boxes will be shipping out the same week! You will receive all 27 colors of our Haute Mess acrylic paints, all of our Haute Mess mediums (Gesso, Moulding Paste, Matte Gel Medium, Glass Bead Gel, Clear Gesso), Gorgeous Haute Mess Art Journal, Gems, Stick Pins, Vintage Fabric and Papers, and more!

Your Benefits as a BAD GIRL DESIGNER:

You will receive our Private Line to design with. As we manufacture and release new lines you will also receive shipments with those contents.

We will also be releasing random Limited Edition Kits. Some design team members may be eligible to design with these kits.

A discount in our Shoppes of 30% off.

Published projects with BAD GIRLS COUTURE signature products will be generously compensated. Amounts to be disclosed to Designers who become a part of our team.

Opportunity to attend and teach at trade shows and retreats.

If you have any questions or comments please send to: Admin@BadGirlsCouture.com

Good Luck to all you BAD GIRLS!!!

For more information on this design team call, visit the Bad Girls Couture blog.

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AFCI | Why I Still Believe In the Importance of Trade Shows

The digital world has changed a lot about our daily lives. We can bank, grocery shop, and even see a doctor without ever leaving home. But can the digital world replace everything?

[This is a sponsored post for AFCI, but views are entirely the author’s own.]

Many of my long time readers know that I have always been, and continue to be, a firm believer that attending trade shows in person is a necessary and irreplaceable function for professionals in the craft industry as well as other industries. (You can read my previous articles on the topic here and here.)

Why, in the digital age, am I still an advocate for the importance of attending trade shows like Creativation in person? Simply put, there are some very important benefits that you can only get from being there.

(Looking for all the details on Creativation 2019? To view the full preview guide, click here!)

Creativation in Phoenix

See The Products

The most obvious benefit of attending a show like Creativation is that you get to see product in person. The importance of this is often dismissed, especially because I often hear from buyers that their reps will bring them the products. But product reps only bring stores the products that the rep markets. What about that exciting new up-and-coming company that doesn’t have a rep yet? Shows provide the opportunity for store owners to connect with and establish relationships with small and new brands that can be beneficial to both companies.

Products seen in person can also give a very different impression from those seen via digital images. For instance, I’ve lost count of how many times a paper line that I wasn’t excited about from a digital preview ended up impressing me when I saw it in person. (And sometimes it works the other way, too.) And booth displays give buyers the chance to see products in use in a variety of ways. A product that might not seem interesting or a good fit for your market in a marketing email might leave a different impression altogether when presented in use or even tried hands-on in a trade show booth.

Networking

A lot of regular show attendees think of Creativation as an opportunity to see our industry friends that we don’t see often. And that’s wonderful, of course – but the importance of connecting with other industry professionals goes so much deeper than that.

So much of the craft industry is built on collaboration. Success can be based not just on what you know but who you know. That business in the booth next door to you might become your next business partner for a cobranded product or event. The person who sits down next to you at the lunch table might be your next rock star designer, or sales person. That person snapping pictures might be the next hot Instagram-er that turns their popularity into a bestselling book (filled with your products, of course).

It’s not just brands that benefit from networking. Retailers, press, designers and other industry professionals can also benefit in various ways from expanding and maintaining their network of industry contacts. Whether it’s finding a job or a mentor, sharing information and expertise, or finding the perfect partner for a project – a large contact network is an invaluable asset for any professional or business to have as a resource. And what better way to expand your network than by attending a trade show where a large portion of the industry is gathered together in one place?

Spellbinders Succulent Dies

Spellbinders Succulent Dies

Industry Intelligence

It’s a fancy name, but really industry intelligence is just that information that all of us gather constantly without even thinking about it while we are at a trade event. It is all of the details big and small that we absorb from around us as we make our way through the day.

Whose booth is crowded? Whose is not? What new product is everyone we talk to buzzing about? What color are we seeing over and over? What new craft item seems to be everywhere all of a sudden? — The answers to these sorts of questions (and more) are the sort of industry intelligence that naturally get answered spending time at Creativation. This information provides valuable feedback to industry businesses about the direction of the industry as a whole and design and product trends – and much of it is only data that can be collected when a significant portion of the industry is gathered together in one place.

Speaking of feedback, that’s another kind of valuable industry intelligence that is facilitated by trade shows. The ability for brands and retailers to meet face-to-face at shows provides an important opportunity for brands and their top executives to have the kind of in-depth discussions with their customers that surveys and other types of feedback tools don’t allow. These partnership-building exchanges can enhance products, sales, and retailer loyalty to brands.

Painting with Plaid

Education

Whether you are a store owner teaching classes or a blogger showing off the latest products, creating happy customers depends on your skill level at what you are doing. Creativation is the biggest opportunity of the year in the United States to get education from the widest variety of companies in one place to keep your skills up on the latest and greatest. This is especially true now that Creativation’s pre-show education time has been expanded to two days, in addition to the classes that take place during the trade show. And outside of the classes, there is also always something to be learned on the show floor through booth demonstrations, whether it is how to use a new product or a new way to use an old one.

Education isn’t just a chance for industry professionals to boost their skills. It’s also an opportunity for companies to ensure consumers get the best first impression of a product by educating the people who will be customers’ first contact point with the product: store owners, designers and instructors. And manufacturers can use creative education to give new life to an old product by showing buyers and instructors new ways of using it.

To view this year’s full Creativation education schedule, click here.

Inspiration

Finally, for me, there’s another reason that I value attending Creativation. So many of us in the creative community work alone in our creative silos for a good portion of the year. Coming together at the show with so many other members of the community, sharing our creative energy for our businesses….it adds fuel to the passion I carry the rest of the year. I take back home with me from my time spent as part of that industry whole a renewed inspiration for what I do.


Don’t Forget – Save on your In the MKNG ticket!

Buy your tickets today and use the following promotional code to save $3 off In the MKNG™ tickets: PRMKNG13

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Jo-Ann’s Ignites Social Firestorm with Anti-Tariff Advocacy

Jo-Ann Stores launched a political advocacy program last week to oppose new tariffs on product imports from overseas. The result, predictable with anything remotely political these days, was an avalanche of vitriol.

Jo-Ann Made in America Tax

The advocacy program poorly framed the tariffs as a “Made in America tax” in an attempt to stress that the tariffs will make items handmade by American crafters more expensive. (The goal of the campaign is to get crafters to contact their Representatives and Senators via the site linked above.) This high concept slogan fell loudly flat with its intended audience, it seems. Some were just confused by the campaign, seeming to think Jo-Ann’s was claiming that the tariffs applied to American products. Other recipients of the campaign’s email and social posts expressed that they found the wording deceptive.

Many of the outraged commenters on Jo-Ann’s post on Facebook have vowed to boycott the company in the future for engaging in politics. The most popular alternative boycotters are promising to seek out by far is Hobby Lobby, a good indication that the outrage is more about about the specific position that Jo-Ann’s is taking (opposing a policy of President Trump) than that they are engaging in politics in general. Based on the previous experience of Hobby Lobby, Starbucks, and Target – all of whom are thriving after similar consumer boycott threats – Jo-Ann probably doesn’t have much to worry about.

Jo-Ann Stores isn’t the only major craft retailer who has spoken out against the tariffs. Back in March, when the tariffs were initially proposed, Michaels Companies joined Jo-Ann Stores (and 24 other retailers) in signing a public letter opposing the tariffs that was organized by the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

So why would Jo-Ann Stores (and Michaels in a smaller way) voluntarily venture into a political issue that they had to know would cause backlash? The fact, basically, that they were willing to wade into this mire at all is telling of just how serious they believe the China tariffs are for their business. (And this assessment can be extrapolated to virtually all other craft businesses as well.)

What has Joann’s sounding the alarm? As of last Friday (the 24th), a 25% tariff (import tax) now applies to all virtually all craft category products that are imported from China. Jo-Ann’s is highlighting the following items from the tariff list in its campaign:

  • Candle Holders (9405.50.40)
  • Cookie Cutters (8205.51.30)
  • Faux Fur (6001.10.20)
  • Feather Craft and Décor Articles (6701.00.30)
  • Fleece (6001.22.00)
  • Glass Beads (7018.10.50)
  • Glue (3506.10.50)
  • Knit Fabric (6005.37.00, 6004.10.00, 6006.44.00)
  • Magnifying Glasses (9013.80.20)
  • Metal Beads (8308.90.30, 8308.10.00)
  • Paper Cutting Machines (8441.10.00)
  • Paper Products (4823.90.67, 4823.90.86)
  • Twig/Vine Baskets (4602.19.18)
  • Velour and Similar Fabrics (6001.92.00)
  • Vine Wreaths and Décor (4602.19.60)
  • Washi and other Paper Tape (4811.41.21)
  • Woven Cotton Fabric (5208.52.30, 5208.32.30, 5208.52.40, 5208.32,40, 5208.12.60, 5208.22.60, 5806.20.00),
  • Woven Manmade Fabric (Poly, Nylon, etc) (5407.61.99, 5513.21.00)
  • Yarn (5606.00.00, 5511.10.00)

A close examination of the tariff list also shows more items like clay, paints, stamping foils, inks, drawing ink, film, paper, metals, buttons, glue, and sewing machines that are likely to either directly or indirectly raise prices on craft products.

Products that are manufactured in the United States won’t be safe from tariff price increases, either. With items such as chalk, mica, wax, dyes, coloring matter, pigments, printing ink, inks, natural rubber, synthetic rubber, paper, metal, and printing plates and many wood items also on the tariff list, many American craft product manufacturers will find themselves paying higher prices for the raw materials used to produce even their U.S.-made products.

Jill Soltau, CEO of Jo-Ann Stores, told Fox Business last week that two-thirds of the products the company sells are sourced from China, and that no alternatives are available outside China that can meet their quantity and quality specifications. She said Jo-Ann Stores expects that consumers will see a 25% price increase on most products as a result of the tariffs.

The new tariffs are of concern in several ways for the financial health of the crafts industry. Sudden significant price increases may lead some consumers to opt out of the industry altogether due to a decrease in the perceived value they are receiving. Other consumers may find their discretionary hobby spending involuntarily limited by budget constraints caused by tariff-related price increases on non-discretionary household spending. Consumers who remain active in the industry will find their dollar not going as far – the same dollars buying fewer SKU units. Since wholesale and production prices for most items are based on volume ordered by the company, fewer SKUs being turned over could lead to increased wholesale prices – thus leading to even more consumer price increases and a vicious circle of inflation.

One of the Trump administration’s stated motivations for putting the tariffs in place is due to Chinese companies’ violation of U.S. intellectual property. This has been a major problem for U.S. craft companies on platforms like Alibaba, where blatant copies of popular stamp manufacturers’ designs are sold to U.S. consumers with barely any recourse for the companies. Stampin’ Up! made an attempt to file a copyright infringement suit against Alibaba Hong Kong Ltd in U.S. District Court in Utah in April, but then withdrew the suit for unknown reasons six weeks later before Alibaba even filed a response.

Will the cure (tariffs) be worse than the disease (copyright infringement) for the crafts industry? Only time will tell.

0

Project | Travel Album: Wander Heidelberg

It’s hard to believe, but I’m back with another page for my 2014 Creativeworld album. By the time I am done, I think this album covering two travel days, three Creativeworld trade show days and one touring day in Heidelberg is going to be almost full!

[Disclosure: This Project Life kit was provided to me by American Crafts. Creativeworld is a sponsor of this website. Some links to Amazon.com and other retailers in this article are affiliate links that pay a commission to this site at no cost to the user when a purchase is made after a click.Some links included below are courtesy links to our advertisers.]

Heidelberg Project Life travel scrapbook layout

Supplies Used:

  • Project Life “Wander by Christina Herrin” Core Kit (Amazon, SB.com)
  • Heidi Swapp stickers
  • Tim Holtz idea-ology “Small Talk – Occasions” stickers (ACOT)
  • Kelly Purkey Shop “Ready Jet Set by Christina Herrin” kit (stamp set)
  • Project Life date stamp
  • Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Ink – Black Soot (ACOTAmazonSB.com)
  • Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen (Superfine) – Black (AmazonSB.com)

For my first layout of Heidelberg, I chose to use the “Wander” Project Life core kit designed by Christina Herrin. (I previously used this core kit on the closing page of this album – click here to check it out.) It might seem kind of a bright selection for a historic shopping district, but these photos had a lot of yellow tones to them and somehow it works.

This layout is super simple. There simply wasn’t a lot of room for embellishment because I have so many photos! This page is actually part one of at least two pages, because I have so many photos from my walk down Hauptstrasse.

Heidelberg Project Life

For my title card, I dug out a stamp set from another kit designed by Christina Herrin. This one was designed for the Kelly Purkey shop. The great thing about using elements from the same designer is that the “handwriting” style elements all match, since they are both Christina’s handwriting.

To finish the title, I paired the stamp with some glitter alphabet stickers. Since that turquoise color has been so trendy, it was easy to find some that matched the Wander kit cards.

I added the date with the original Project Life date stamp that I’ve had forever. Even when I’m doing a series of pages that obviously belong together, I like to put the date on each page.

Project Life Heidelberg layout

I like to take simple cards out of the Project Life kits and use embellishments to customize and theme them. On this card, I combined a stamp by Christina Herrin, a Heidi Swapppuffy sticker, and a Tim Holtz small talk sticker. Three totally different designers but the bits and pieces – chosen carefully – work together. I tend to create cards like this by just digging through boxes and experimenting until I find a combination that I like.

Project Life Heidelberg close-up

I had to be careful when creating these pages to make sure that I balanced the colors across the two pages. Using strong colors like this, it would really look wrong if I didn’t pay attention to color balance. So on the right side, I had to make sure to include the nice bright “today is awesome” card. It balances out the two really bright cards on the other page.

Project Life Heidelberg layout

Our travel doesn’t always go as we plan. My last day in Germany on this trip, I got sick. Miserably sick with the flu, fever and chills and the whole works. But I pushed on with my touring and still had a good time. You can’t tell from my pictures that I was sick, but it’s an important part of the story to tell. We shouldn’t tell just the good parts! So I used a journaling card to tell that part of my story on this layout.

Project Life Heidelberg journaling

Have you used the Wander core kit from Project Life? What did you scrapbook with it?

3