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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.

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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?

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Make a Watercolor Fall Leaf Card with Cricut Scoring Wheel!

Fall is starting to sound really good with the July heat here in Florida! So today, I decided to bring some cool fall weather to my studio with the help of my Cricut Maker and the new Cricut Scoring Wheel.

[Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Cricut.]

Fall Watercolor Card with Cricut Scoring Wheel

When I first got my Cricut Scoring Wheel for my Cricut Maker, I was going over a list of the materials that the Cricut Double Scoring Wheel will work with: shimmer paper….sparkle paper…watercolor paper…heavy cardstock…. Wait! Back that bus up! Did that say watercolor paper?

It did! Because the new Cricut Scoring Wheel works in the Adaptive Tool slot of the Cricut Maker machine, it has up to 10x the scoring pressure of the previous Scoring Stylus. And that means that it can create scoring lines in materials like 140lb watercolor paper that the stylus just can’t stand up to.

I love using watercolor techniques – and thus watercolor paper – in my card making. But the challenge it brings is that watercolor paper is extremely heavy and doesn’t fold well. So working with up until now meant making a separate card front with it, or having to design my card so that the watercolor was an element not the whole card front. It was limiting.

Being able to create score lines in watercolor paper with the Cricut Double Scoring Wheel means creative freedom from all of those limitations. I really pushed the limits of my new freedom for this card. I created a card that is a watercolor paper base, and has a see-through element as well.

Supplies Used:

Cricut Double Scoring Wheel lines

The Cricut Double Scoring Wheel makes two scoring lines close together. This creates a more gradual fold that doesn’t break the surface of the material when folding heavier materials like foil paper, cereal boxes, kraft board, lightweight chipboard, and more. (Don’t worry if you aren’t certain which Cricut Scoring Wheel is the correct one for your material. Your Cricut Maker machine will tell you which one to use after you select your material in Design Space!)

Cricut Scoring Wheel in Cricut Maker machine

There is one other benefit of the new Cricut Scoring Wheel working in the Adaptive Tool slot of the Cricut Maker machine – it leaves the pen slot open! This means that drawing and scoring can be done in one set-up of the machine (assuming you are only using one pen color). With the Scoring Stylus, you have to do the pen, then the machine stops and you have to swap the pen for the the stylus before you can score. The new process of being able to do them both at once is much more efficient!

To start my watercolor fall leaf card project, I cut the project out on my Cricut Maker. I cut the main part out of watercolor paper, the frame for the front out of shimmer paper, and the back for the window out of foil acetate.

Fall Watercolor Card prep

Once my pieces were cut I used my art tape to tape my card base down to a surface for painting. (Painter’s tape would also work.) I also used the tape to cover the sentiment that was done in pen by my Cricut Maker, and also to create a border around the window to keep my watercolor from migrating. It only takes a few moments to do this, and it is a good way to prevent paint disasters. Also, if the card base isn’t taped down, the watercolor paper will curl when it dries after painting.

Fall Watercolor Card in Progress

My first layer of watercolor was started with an olive green color from my watercolor set. I used my waterbrush and just made random dabs of the olive from the palette onto the dry watercolor paper. Then I spritzed the leaf lightly with water. I grabbed a clean watercolor brush and started filling in between the green with a nice saturated yellow. Then I spritzed again to make it blend well. To speed the drying process, I used a heat gun.

Fall Card marker edges

After the green and yellow was dry, I started my next watercolor layer. The next layer was a reddish-orange color. I used a small waterbrush for applying this color, and then spritzed it to blend it. Then I dried it with the heat gun again.

The final layer was some brown, applied the same way as the red. In addition to making random spots, I also filled in the stem with the brown, and painted along the vein lines with it.

When I was done painting, I used a brown brush marker lightly edge along the leaf and frame to cover the white edges. I also colored just a little bit of the front of the opening. I also did the same thing to the white edges of the shimmer paper frame. All of this provides a more “finished” look to my die cuts, and creates a sort of drop shadow effect.

Fall Watercolor Card assembled

Once my watercolor was all dry, I very carefully removed the tape. Then I assembled the card elements. The Cricut Foil Acetate perfectly matches the Geode Cricut pen I used for the sentiment, and adds a sort of blue sky sparkle to the card. The Cricut Shimmer Paper that I used for the frame picks up the fall colors of the leaf, and makes it a bit more festive.

The final step, of course, is to use the beautiful double scoring lines to fold my finished card! Folding the 140lb watercolor paper was surprisingly easy with the lines from my Cricut Double Scoring Wheel, and I got a perfect edge!

And here is the result!

Fall Watercolor Card with Cricut Scoring Wheel

I chose a “thinking of you” sentiment for my card but the design is suitable for lots of fall uses – a simple hello, happy birthday, and many others. Anna Griffin has a whole bunch of similar sentiment designs to choose from to make it easy to adapt this card to whatever use you need!

Watercolor Fall Leaf Card with Cricut Scoring Wheel

What occasion will use the Cricut Double Scoring Wheel for?

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

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Project | Mixed Media Layout with 49 & Market Patterned Paper

Ever since I first saw 49 & Market at Creativation last year, I’ve been dying to try out their beautiful papers. I finally got around to ordering some of their beautiful goodies, and this is the result!

[Disclosure: Scrapbook Update is a participant in the Amazon.com affiliate program. This article contains advertiser links and affiliate links that pay this site a commission at no cost to the user if a purchase is made after a click.]

49 & Market Remember layout

One of my favorite things about 49 & Market – besides their beautiful vintage design – is the nice heavy weight of their paper. I couldn’t resist putting it to the test on this layout. So I hauled out the texture paste for a mixed media technique.

Supplies Needed:

To get started on this layout, I mixed some texture paste with some Tattered Rose Distress re-inker until I got the color that I wanted. Then I spread the paste through my Mini Damask stencil in several areas of my Vintage Artistry paper, and let it dry.

49 and Market Flowers

Once the background was dry, it was time to create the centerpiece of the layout! First I matted the photo with gray cardstock and adhered it to the center of the page. Then I carefully began arranging my 49 & Market Seaside flowers around the bottom left of the photo, starting at the corner and building out from there.After attaching all the flowers, I went back added the foliage and other elements around them.

Although I don’t normally use one on my scrapbook layouts, I used a hot glue gun attaching the flowers. It is a good way to attach large items like this that don’t have a flat bottom. It also holds firmly almost instantly, allowing me to work quickly.

49 and Market stamp for title

I felt a large title was a bit much for this layout along with all the other large items. So instead I chose to use a 49 & Market text stamp at the top of the layout. It provides something of a title but without being too dominant visually.

Strip Journaling

This is a really old picture and so I don’t remember a lot about the day it was taken. Because of that, there was no real need for a large journaling space on the layout. Instead, I just used paper strips (one of my favorite ways to journal). This gave me just enough room to provide the who-what-where-when with no need for the detail I forgot long ago.

I’m so happy to have this photo in my album now, and I can’t wait to play with more 49 & Market!

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AFCI | In the MKNG Preview (And a Discount!)

Summer is flying by fast, and that means we are coming up on theIn the MKNG™ festival being put on by AFCI on September 29th-30th, 2018! Here’s all the latest info that you need to know about the festival – along with a discount code for tickets!

[Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for AFCI.]

Where is In the MKNG™️?

Museum at Bethel Woods

In the MKNG™ will be taking place at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel Woods, NY. Located about 90 minutes outside of New York City, Bethel Woods is also within a few hours’ driving distance of New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

Bethel Woods, of course, is famous as the site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival. Today, the grounds of that festival (most of which are now part of the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts) are on the National Register of Historic Places and are regularly visited by tourists. A monument sits near the location of the festival’s main stage. The Museum at Bethel Woods, also part of the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, tells the story of the Woodstock Festival and the 1960’s through artifacts and other exhibits.

If nature is more your thing than history, the Sullivan Catskills area surrounding Bethel Woods has plenty to offer. Take a drive on scenic Route 97, or go hiking and biking on the area’s many trails, or fish and hunt in Lake Superior State Park.

To learn more about the area around Bethel Woods and to plan your visit, explore the Sullivan Catskills website.

Who will be at In the MKNG™️?

Many of crafters’ favorite brands are sponsoring and participating In the MKNG™ – Bob Ross, Michaels, Paper House, Gildan, Lion Brand, Duck Tape, and so many more!

With over fifty vendors already signed up for In the MKNG™. there’s something for every craft fanatic. For paper crafters, there’s Altenew, The Paper Curator, Paper House, Eileen Hull and more – including loads of mixed media options. Sewists can visit the legendary Mood Fabrics, Fabric Mart NY, Decorative Trimmings, Blu Arlan and other options. A host of options for fiber arts fans include Lion Brand, Red Heart, Cornwall Yarn Shop, Buck Brook Alpacas, and more exciting options.

To see the current list of sponsors and vendors for In the MKNG™, visit the event’s website. (Are you a vendor who would like to be on that list? Visit the In the MKNG™ website to become a vendor or sign up as a sponsor – or both!)

Take a workshop!

Registration is now open for workshops at In the MKNG™! Workshop slots are available on both Saturday and Sunday. Attendees can take their pick of workshops that include crafts such as a knitted headband (no knitting experience required), a beautiful fall wreath, an etched glass jar, embroidery wall art, and more!

Tickets for In the MKNG™ workshops range from $20-$40 each, and can be purchased during the registration process for the event. (Attendees must buy a festival ticket to be able to purchase a workshop ticket.) View the full workshop descriptions on the In the MKNG™website.

Catch a concert!

Sister Hazel

Bethel Woods is famous for music, and so In the MKNG™ wouldn’t be complete without a great concert. And the best part is that your In the MKNG™ festival ticket includes access to the live music performances!

On Saturday, the festival’s headline performer (from 4:30pm to 6pm) is Sister Hazel, known to most music fans for their 1997 rock hit “All for You”. Sister Hazel is currently touring to promote their latest album, Lighter In The Dark. This new album is their first country album and features a collaboration track with Darius Rucker.

Other performers on Saturday are CMA artist Lauren Davidson, independent singer/songwriter Zach Matari & The After Parti, and NY-based pop/rock band Wild Planes.

On Sunday, the festival is being headlined by 16 year old country music singer-songwriter Brennley Brown. She appeared on season 12 of the NBC series “The Voice”, and is also known to fans for being the voice of Lily the Good Witch on the Disney Channel series “Sofia the First”.

Other performers on Sunday are singer/songwriter Emma Bilyou, retro-pop duo Fly By Midnight, and alternative rock band Don’t Believe in Ghosts.

To see the full music schedule for In the MKNG, click here.

What else can I do at In the MKNG™️?

Puppies

In the MKNG™ is designed as an interactive, hands on experience for festival attendees from kids to adults. Crafters of all skill levels can try out new crafts, or enhance their skills at existing ones using products from companies like Bob Ross, Brother, Crayola, DecoArt, iLoveToCreate, Lion Brands and more.

The Creator Stage will be hosting live demonstrations, crafting competitions and more. Animal lovers will find pet crafting projects (and an adoption center if you’re looking for a new furry family member to love). Or try out local craft beer and wine in a special pavilion.

Save on your ticket!

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

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2018 Halloween Scrapbook Collection Round-Up!

Halloween is on the minds of many crafters already! Whether their preference is spooky and scary or cute and fun, scrapbookers will find plenty to love in this year’s Halloween releases.

2018 Halloween Scrapbook Paper Collection Round-Up

[Disclosure: Some links below are links to our advertisers or affiliate links that pay this site a commission at no cost to you when a purchase is made after a click.]

There’s been a lot of talk the past few years about the explosion of Halloween products in the scrapbooking industry. As holidays go, it’s probably the second most popular one to create scrapbooking products for. That said…for 2018 I’ve one been able to collect about half as many new Halloween paper releases as Christmas ones. This is a testament to both the runaway popularity of Christmas, and the fact that the Halloween “trend” may not be as ubiquitous as it seems. One factor limiting Halloween’s market, of course, is that it doesn’t have quite the international appeal of Christmas.

What are the trends for Halloween 2018?

The biggest trend visible this Halloween is the integration of purple and green as Halloween palette colors. The integration of these colors started with “alternative” Halloween collections entirely in purple and green, offered as alternatives to the traditional black and orange. This has now progressed to purple and green being mixed right in as part of the color palette of the black and orange.

American Crafts is betting that the “photo realistic” look is coming back. This look was popular in the early days of the scrapbook industry nearly two decades ago but hasn’t been widely seen in products in a long time. American Crafts’ new Halloween Photo Real paper pad is part of an 8 pad Photo Real collection. The company’s DCWV brand also appears to have included some “photo realistic” style paper designs in its Dark Fairytale paper pad. Is photo realistic back? It’s up to consumers to decide!

Vintage style is conspicuous in its almost complete absence from this years’ Halloween lines. Only three 2018 Halloween lines are arguably vintage in style. (Although we haven’t seen pictures yet, it’s a pretty safe bet that the new Tim Holtz idea-olgy release will qualify as vintage!) The presence of vintage style in the industry has been growing in the last year or so, but many of the brands traditionally associated with vintage in the industry (Prima, Graphic 45) don’t have Halloween releases so that influence looks less than it really is in the Halloween releases. Continue Reading →

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