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Help BasicGrey Help A Family In Crisis

It’s easy to forget during the joyful holiday season that others’ lives may not be so joyful. Bad things don’t stop happening in the world when the halls get decked for the holidays…

BasicGrey has just announced that they are holding a charity event on their website from now to Dec. 5th, to help a family close to them that unfortunately knows this all to well:

On November 28th, three young boys–Ivan 16, Javier 14 and Bryant 12, friends of BasicGrey’s own Joanna, lost their only surviving parent in a tragic car accident. The boys lost their father earlier this year to cancer. Needless to say that upon hearing this news our hearts sank and then we asked ourselves- “What can we do to help?”  Among other things we have decided to donate proceeds to this family from all the digital purchases and the sale of our featured class kits (now priced at $15) from 12/3/2010 to 12/5/2010. By doing just a little shopping (and who doesn’t love shopping?) you will be doing a lot of good.

If you’re a BasicGrey fan who’d like to help, please take a few minutes to shop the digital store or the class kits.

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Scrapbook Update CHA Summer 2010 Top 10 Hot Picks

It’s that time once again…time to run down the list of ten items that Scrapbook Update thinks will be sure-fire winners from the CHA trade show introductions! Not all of them are groundbreaking, or even a departure for the company making them, but we think they are guaranteed to be bestsellers for the companies that make them and the stores that sell them!

(You’ll note there aren’t any holiday items on the list. Due to the relatively short shelf life of seasonal items compared to tools and non-seasonal items, we are doing separate themed lists to make seasonal picks.)

So, in no particular order…

1. Pink Paislee Parisian Anthology by House of Three

Shortly before CHA Summer 2010, Pink Paislee announced they would be releasing a collection of signature designs by the House of Three. House of Three is made up of designers Rhonna Farrer, Heidi Swapp, and Janet Hopkins, and their designs had previously only been available in digital form.

Parisian Anthology’s papers are double-sided, white tone-on-tone papers featuring very trendy text and journal styled designs. Rhonna Farrer’s signature swirl elements are present as well. Part of the designs are printed in resist ink, providing a beautiful background for using all the spray inks and other inking techniques that are so popular right now. Photos simply cannot do these papers justice to how they look in person. The image above shows the paper in its original unaltered form, and then the darker circle is what it would look like with ink on it, revealing the resist design.

An interesting background note: some of Heidi Swapp’s last products with her signature line with Advantus were papers using a similar resist ink design technique. They debuted at CHA Winter 2009, but for that product the resist ink was printed on a plain white background, not layered on top of a print.

2. Jillibean Soup: Alphabets & Pasta Fagioli collection

To put it simply, Jill Yegerlehner just knows alphabets. Her company’s previous release of corrugated alphabets made our CHA Summer 2009 Hot Picks list, and Jillibean has done it again with their CHA Summer 2010 alphabets. The font is an excellently usable choice for coordinating with both vintage and graphic layouts, and the prints are perfect for the small form factor of an alphabet.

The letter size is perfect for everything from medium-sized tags to large layouts, and the colors are great basics.

Another offering from Jillibean that beautifully straddles the line between graphic and vintage (thus reaching a wider market of customers) is their new Pasta Fagioli collection.

Several of the prints are extremely graphic in style, but many of them (such as the small flowers, the script text, and the toile) will appeal to fans of vintage. This collection’s wide appeal – from scrapbookers to cardmakers, and vintage to graphic fans – should help make it a bestseller.

3. BasicGrey Curio collection

Once again, BasicGrey proved they have thrown off the aura of mustiness that had settled around them and returned to the excellence that scrapbookers have expected from them for so long. According to staff in the BasicGrey booth, Curio was their most popular new collection, and it is easy to see why. The embellishments are absolutely gorgeous vintage and incorporate several trendy design elements such as birds, butterflies, and antique labels.

This collection achieves something very difficult – both the papers and the embellishments are absolutely exquisite. In most collections, one element or the other is stronger. This collection is the rare “must buy” in both areas.

4. Tim Holtz Vagabond by Sizzix

Yes, the MSRP is $250. (As with most things, street price will likely be lower shortly after its release.) But once you get past the sticker shock, the marketing power of the Tim Holtz name can’t be argued with. He’s arguably made manual die-cutting cool again at a time when scrapbookers were becoming obsessed with electronic die cutting machines. Several of his Sizzix Alterations dies that were introduced at CHA Winter 2010, eons ago in scrapbook product time, are still on the bestseller list at Scrapbook.com as of today (July 31st). And this machine has an innovative marketing program attached to it.

See those stickers all over the outside of the case? Owners of the Vagabond are supposed to collect them at various different events and then decorate the case themselves with their personalized sticker record of their scrapbook travels. This makes the Vagabond not just a tool but a participatory program that gets its users interacting with the company on an ongoing basis to collect more stickers.

The Vagabond has more going for it than marketing and Tim’s name, however. It excels in several key areas that are very likely to appeal to modern crafters.

First, there are the Vagabond’s looks. While looks are only skin deep, many crafters are obsessive about the appearance of their work spaces. (Reference the recent marketing of the Cricut Cake first in “kitchen” red to match Kitchen Aid appliances, and then by Martha Stewart in neutral creme “to match any decor”.) The Vagabond is by far the prettiest die cutter in its category, and to a certain market segment that counts for a lot.

Then there’s the fact that it has an electric motor. That’s very appealing to two important market segments – aging crafters who may be losing hand strength  & dexterity, and professional crafters cutting large quantities of items.

Last but not least, the strength of the electric motor is an important factor in the machine’s potential success. Sizzix does already make a die cutter with an electric motor (Big Shot Express, $108.95 at Amazon.com), but Tim greatly increased the size and power of the motor in the specs for the Vagabond machine, as seen below:

The Vagabond motor is on the left, with the Big Shot Express motor on the right. More power, a full horsepower, means the Vagabond can cut a wider range of materials, such as cork and fabric, that appeal not only to scrapbookers but also to general crafters. Given that Tim’s work is more in the general crafts arena than scrapbooking (although his products are loved by scrapbookers), this will give the machine a very wide market appeal.

5. Teresa Collins Stampmaker

This machine, which lets crafters make their own clear stamps, has actually been on the market from British company Photocentric for several years, but didn’t generate much buzz until Teresa Collins put her name on it for a relaunch at this show. It was runner-up in the Innovations award at the show, and the demo area was packed. It consistently was mentioned by attendees as a show “must-see”.

The machine, actually a light oven, uses a multi-step process involving (among other things) packets of photopolymer. The process really has to be seen to be understood, so check out the launch video below.

Even at a price point of $160, I predict papercrafters will snap this up. Participants in the Scrapbook Update live blog who were polled seem to think the price was about right for the product, and buzz at CHA seemed to contain no concern about the price.

6. Core-dinations Core Impressions Stacy Julian Happy Colors collection

It seems like everything that Core-dinations does these days is a winner, with all the licensed Core Impressions collections that they’ve introduced at the past few shows from names like Cosmo Cricket and Jenni Bowlin. (For those who don’t know, the Core-dinations cardstocks have a contrasting inner core color so when they are sanded, the distressed area is very visible.) This time around, they introduced collections by Graphic 45 (which is gorgeous and deserves honorable mention in this Hot Pick) and Stacy Julian.

Stacy’s collection is called Happy Colors and contains papers in bright colors that are embossed with “happy” words (a different assortment on each color sheet), or an all-over dot design.

The word papers are available by the sheet as well as in the stack. Some of the word papers have the words embossed in rows, while on some the arrangement is more criss-crossed and random looking.

These papers play into several current trends. The bright colors go with the current trend away from muted and dark colors into a brighter palette. The use of text as an all-over design is a massive trend right now. Core Impressions lend themselves very well to using techniques on, a style that is rising in popularity. And finally, the papers are excellent for card making, which is also gaining in popularity.

Some of the booth samples showed the versatility of these papers, and how they can be used to create very affordable word embellishments by snipping out pieces of them:

7. We R Memory Keepers Sew Easy tool

Hand stitching has been gaining in popularity as an embellishment. Bazzill tried to capitalize on this with their stitching templates, but it looks like We R Memory Keepers has really come up with the killer app: the Sew Easy tool.

The tool is a simple roller with a handle that pokes a pattern of holes in paper when it is rolled across the paper.

The roller has interchangeable heads that can make different patterns of holes for different types of stitching. Each head’s pattern can be used to make at least three different stitching styles. With an MSRP of only $7.99 for the tool and $2.99 for the extra heads, it is a very affordable way to quickly make perfect stitching! The tool needs to be used on a foam mat to work correctly. A 7 x 12 mat has an MSRP of $7.99.

We R Memory Keepers is also offering extra-think skeins of floss and needles with extra large openings.

The floss and tool together looks to be very popular with both card makers and scrapbookers. The show floor was buzzing about the tool’s possibilities and affordable price point – a big selling point in the current economy.

8. Crate Paper Restoration collection

After a couple of only so-so collections, Crate Paper is back in the form that long-time fans expect from them with their CHA Summer 2010 release. Especially hitting the mark is the Restoration collection, a warm and welcoming collection of vintage patterns and embellishments.

Restoration is a vintage collection in a slightly unusual color scheme, and the patterns and embellishments are not only beautiful but usable. With borders, banners, and text & journaling elemets, it hits all the notes that scrapbookers want in embellishments. Overall, it will definitely stand out from the crowd of vintage that is available right now: part of the trend but with its own distinctive style.

9. My Minds Eye Lost & Found collection

This collection was huge at CHA. And I don’t just mean the buzz about it. I mean the collection, especially by the standards of recent releases in the industry, was actually massive. It’s really four collections in one, containing four sub collections called Portobello Road, Market Street, Madison Avenue and Union Square.

The collection is elegant, usable vintage with all the embellishments that typical scrapbookers love. It hits on several trendy designs of the moment: the Eiffel Tower, banners, birds, text and sewing. This collection will move fast when it hits stores, and will find its way into lots of layouts and projects once it moves out of stores into scrapbookers’ hands.

10. Echo Park Paper

For a company that was only formed several months ago, Echo Park Paper is sure making a splash! Many items from their first three collections are currently on Two Peas In A Bucket’s “What’s Hot” section, a big accomplishment for a brand new company. Their small booth was heavily trafficked and they were much buzzed-about on the CHA Summer 2010 show floor.

Their latest collection of licensed designs, Life is Good, is already shipping to stores. To see Echo Park Paper in action, check out May’s review of their first collection. Echo Park’s impressive debut sets high expectations for the larger CHA Winter 2011 show for the company.

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Spring 2010 Mid-Release Products Report

It seems to me that the “mid-release” concept is a growing trend in scrapbooking. It used to be that most products were debuted at one of the trade shows before release. However in recent years, and 2010 in particular, I have seen a rise in items being released in the spring that were not shown at the winter CHA show back in January. These “mid-releases” are small offerings of a few select new goodies that we will see in stores long before the next trade show crush.

I find it delightful to discover these new treats from favorite companies, and today I’m going to share some of my picks from the crop of Spring 2010 mid-releases with you, as well as a few layouts.

American Crafts has several mid-releases that should be hitting stores any time now. Several new alphabet Thickers, some additional fabric paper, and additional colors of the very popular rose ribbon (from the Dear Lizzy line) so it will be available in six colors.

BasicGrey is jumping in with two new collections, Oliver and Olivia, to be released in June. The image below is the sneak peek shared on their website.

There’s also a whole new company on the scene called Echo Park Paper, and the product peek on their homepage is intriguing:

Pink Paislee has released a collection called Starlight that you will see featured in an upcoming article here on Scrapbook Update. The red, blues, and buttery yellows make a really nice subtle color palette for a variety of projects.

Teresa Collins has released Travel Ledger, a line that is neutral enough in color, and subtle enough in patterns, to be used for most any vacation scrapbooking.

Jenni Bowlin has debuted several new papers for her line as well as rub-ons, stickers, and a few other items. What I appreciate the most about Jenni’s new lines are that they seamlessly tie into her older product. Rather than becoming a whole new collection, these items will work with papers and stickers I have from a few years ago as well as they will with each other.

The bold yellows and reds in Jenni’s aptly named “Play Date” papers seem to be the perfect choice for summer, and I love that they are useful for any number of subject matters. I decided to try out some of the new products with some pony ride photos.

Supplies: Jenni Bowlin patterned paper, chipboard and sticker butterflies, journaling card, banner stickers, and coordinating core’dinations cardstock; Fiskars scallop border punch; Martha Stewart bakers twine; Scrapbook Adhesives by 3L EZ-Runner; Sakura pen; unknown thread

The new banner stickers and the butterfly shaped stickers are so much fun, and I’m glad to see this trend continuing. I am looking forward to utilizing the large butterfly rub-ons as well.

Another company with a stellar surprise is Cosmo Cricket, with the new collection called DeLovely. When I first saw the images of this on-line, I was thrilled! This bright aqua, pink, and yellow dominated line is just the thing for warm weather fun pages.

I tried out this new line with a new favorite photo taken outside our local fair. I think that mixing black, white, or some really dark colors that coordinate with a line help bring a better contrast and overall look to my projects. A very dark aqua or pink might be fun…in fact, I think I’ll have to try that!

Supplies: Cosmo Cricket patterned paper, 6×6 paper pad, Chipboard stickers, sticker sheet, alphabet stickers in pink and aqua, and flowered patterned paper (cut out flowers); American Crafts rose ribbon; unknown thread.

Visions of a pool, summer sunshine, popsicle eating, and general warm weather fun all come to mind when I view this line. I love how feminine it is while still being a rainbow of bold colors. You can expect to see more from me using this line for sure.

I’m looking forward to working more with these new products, as well as discovering more new favorites and enjoying my classic staple supplies as well.

(See something you like? Most of these products that I’ve mentioned today are available now in stores, and those that aren’t will be within a few weeks.)

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Top Ten Product Trends at CHA Winter 2010, Part 2

It’s time to look at part two of the top ten product trends from CHA Winter 2010! (In case you missed it, here’s part one.)

Please note that these trends are intended to take a look at the types of products that are being offered, not the specific design and style trends that were being applied to those products.

6. Fabric/Canvas

Top row, left-right: Studio Calico, Prima, Prima. Middle row (l-r): Adornit, BasicGrey, BasicGrey. Bottom row (l-r): Melody Ross for GCD Studios, Claudine Hellmuth Studio, Webster’s Pages.

Maybe it is a reflection of the homemade/vintage feeling that is sweeping scrapbooking, but a lot of CHA Winter products were created from textiles. Replacing the hard metal embellishments of a few years ago, fabric is both more versatile as a material and more affordable. There’s also less government regulation to worry about for manufacturers, such as issues created recently by the CPSIA.

Some fabric items, such as Donna Downey’s products for Prima, are a blank starting point for projects. Others, such as Studio Calico’s Fabrips borders, are full-featured embellishments designed to be incorporated into other projects.

7. Embossed Cardstock

Left-right: Jenni Bowlin Core’dinations, Bazzill, Tim Holtz Alterations.

Products that were either already embossed or for creating embossing are becoming quite common in the scrapbook market. All of the manual die cutting systems seem to offer embossing accessories, and Tim Holtz caused big buzz at CHA with his new Alterations embossing designs for the Sizzix machine. Many of the cardstock companies (like Bazzill and Core’dinations) seem to be entering a gray area between cardstock and patterned paper providers by branching into embossed designs. It’s also becoming more frequent for patterned paper companies to include embossed designs in their lines (K and Company has a long history of this, for instance).

8. Spray Ink/Mist

Left-right: Smooch Spritz, Inkadinkado, Chalkboard Glimmer Mist.

Ink of all kinds is a hot product right now. But spray ink, which has only recently gotten attention as a category, is the hottest of all the inks – attracting attention even from papercrafters who don’t own a single stamp. Tattered Angels offered up a big expansion of its Glimmer line at CHA Winter 2010 and many other companies also either offered the product for the first time or expanded existing offerings.

9. Fancy Buttons

Top: American Crafts Glitter Buttons. Bottom: Bazzill Vintage Buttons.

Buttons are back as part of the vintage trend, but with a twist from their classic scrapbooking incarnation. Instead of plain buttons we now have glitter buttons, textured buttons, and bling buttons. Gone are the days of companies selling color assortments of plain buttons to coordinate with their lines – now they must have extra detail of some kind. Offerings from companies like GCD Studios and Bazzill remind me so much of my grandmother’s button jar!

10: Die Cutting

Top row, left-right: Cottage Cutz, Sizzix eClips, Tim Holtz Alterations. Bottom row (l-r): Cricut Cake, Spellbinders, Craftwell eCraft.

At CHA Winter 2010, there was plenty of proof that lots of companies see both digital and manual die cutting as a viable market. Several new exhibitors were associated with die cutting, and some of the show’s biggest buzz was centered around the Cricut Cake machine. Besides the Cricut Cake, Sizzix and Craftwell also showed new electronic cutters, greatly expanding the options in that area for consumers. On the manual side, Cottage Cutz was exhibiting as an independent producer of dies, an indicator of the perceived strength in that market. Tim Holtz’s new collection of vintage style dies for Sizzix has potential to reach a new audience for their machine, which is known for a more graphic or cute style of design.

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Top Ten Product Trends At CHA Winter 2010: Part 1

At every trade show, trends emerge about what kinds of products manufacturers are introducing. Scrapbook Update has identified the top ten trends in new products that showed up at CHA Winter 2010 in Anaheim, and we’re going to take a closer look at them in a two-part series.

(These trends shouldn’t be confused with design trends, which will be addressed in another article. This article just deals with what types of products are being introduced, not what style they are.)

So, in no particular order…here’s the first five of the top ten product trends from CHA Winter 2010:

1. Banners

This trend is actually a product and a design trend. Banners were everywhere at CHA Winter. They were for sale as products, and handmade ones were used as booth displays to show off new products. But here, we’re only concerned about the products. There were canvas banners, banner board books, banner stickers & paper, and banner stamps:

Clockwise from top left: Canvas Home Basics, Canvas Home Basics, October Afternoon, Maya Road, Webster’s Pages, October Afternoon.

2. Decorative Tape

Tape has been around for awhile in a limited sense – I personally own a huge collection of the Heidi Swapp and Making Memories designs and love using them on pages and cards – but now tape is popping up everywhere. There was even a new exhibitor at CHA Winter called Love My Tapes that sells nothing but tape.

Tape is appealing for several reasons to both buyers and sellers. It can sell at an affordable price point for a large quantity. It also has use to a wide range of crafters, from scrapbookers, to cardmakers and beyond.

Clockwise from top left: Love My Tapes, Pink Paislee, Pink Paislee, 7 Gypsies, Tim Holtz idea-ology, Making Memories.

3. Felt

Felt has been around for awhile as well but it is becoming increasingly commonplace. The retro craze has made it especially popular. It’s being used for a wide range of sticker-type embellishments, as well as by companies like Queen & Co. for ribbon-style borders.

Clockwise from top left: Prima, Making Memories, Dear Lizzy by American Crafts, BasicGrey, Kaisercraft, Queen & Co.

4. Artist Trading Cards

ATC’s have been on the fringe of the paper crafts industry for awhile but lately they’ve been growing in importance as companies like 7 Gypsies have been releasing products aimed squarely at that activity, and stampers and scrapbookers look for more things to do with their supplies.

At the CHA Craft Supershow in Anaheim, one booth was doing brisk business in selling ATC card blanks from specialty papers by Strathmore. At the trade show, companies as diverse as Tim Holtz and Making Memories both introduced ATC supplies. Many stamp designs were being sold that were obviously influenced by the ATC aesthetic, which is infiltrating mainstream scrapbooking.

The bottom example here is of the most importance in illustrating this trend. It is of the Shabby Chic version of the new Tim Holtz idea-ology paper pads. It includes pages that are 12×12 as well as pages that are designed to be cut into smaller sizes. There’s some 6×6, some tiny squares, and then some pages that are a combination of ATC’s and borders. This is a big development in the market, selling a product that is designed assuming that most buyers are interested at least somewhat in ATC’s as well as more traditional scrapbooking and card making.

5. Unmounted Rubber Stamps

The use of acrylic stamps has been exploding in the scrapbooking industry. There are several reasons for the growth of unmounted rubber: Concern about the design limitations of clear stamps, a desire to attract hardcore rubber enthusiasts as customers, or the need to compete with the price of clear stamps.

Clockwise from top left: Eco Green Crafts, Hero Arts, Stampendous, Lizzie Anne Designs, Stamper’s Anonymous, Unity Stamps.

Stay tuned for part two, coming soon!



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May’s CHA favorites: Paper & Stickers

Paper, stickers, and rub-ons are staples in paper crafters lives whether their style is simple or shabby, and whether they make cards or scrapbook layouts. Here are a dozen of my favorites from the show:

An instant favorite: Melody Ross came out with a line called Homespun Chic (with GCD Studios) and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I was loving it so much in the booth in fact, that I apparently forgot to take photos of the actual papers! (These flowers give you a good idea of the designs I hope!)

When asked about my show favorites, Glitz Design is a company I was both surprised and delighted by. I truly loved every new item in the booth and these rub-ons made me dizzy with happiness.

Every paper from Lily Bee is on my wish list, along with their new chipboard stickers. It’s a beautiful two line release.  I couldn’t stop staring at this particular two-sided paper from the new Lovely line.

Cosmo Cricket’s Garden Variety and Material Girl lines both got smiles and thumbs up from me, and these letters made me squeak aloud with happiness.

I re-visited the Core’dinations booth more than once to see the Core Impressions papers that are new. They have designs from Jenni Bowlin, Jillibean, and Cosmo Cricket that are all specially embossed and so useful in both patterns and colors. I can not wait to get my hands on them and sand, ink, and tear them to my creative heart’s content.

(Above are some of the Jenni Bowlin samples. Below is the Cosmo Cricket woodgrain cardstock.)

Jillibean Soup had a lot of offerings such as new corrugated cardboard alphas, journaling stickers, and papers that are just too cute for words, like this birdhouse design. It is a part of their Old World Cabbage Soup collection.

Adornit had a really large release this show. My favorite are these star stickers. They’re just so happy.

Teresa Collins created a line called chic bebe girl (and in blue, chic bebe boy), and it’s the first baby line in a long time I’ve been excited about. What I love is that almost every design and item in the collection can be used for any subject, making it far more versatile than most themed lines.

My favorite thing about The Girls’ Paperie “On Holiday” line is that while it is vintage inspired, it’s got beautiful reds greens and blues and can be used easily on both travel and any other photos as well. Every paper in the line is worth mentioning, as well as the really incredible alphabet, word, and border sticker set that is available.

My Little Shoebox was filled with color, happy themes, and very usable products. I especially loved their tiny alphabets and the die cut papers like this one.

Hambly makes rub-ons and transparencies that few can match in style or quality. While I want most of their new releases, these swatch rub-ons were just so unique they stayed in my mind and must be mentioned here.

Studio Calico had a simple booth that let their stunning offerings speak for themselves. The “Anthology” line is wonderful, as are the versatile rub-ons that they released that could easily be  used with any number of products or themes. These wood grain and button rub-ons are not to be missed.

Last but not least, BasicGrey released a large line called “Basics”. It’s brilliant. These are neutral enough to work with most any other products. They will truly be timeless and something I can purchase and feel confident about getting my money’s worth from.

If you’re counting you notice I went with a baker’s dozen so I could get one more pick in. I feel compelled to say that there was a lot of lip biting and hand wringing here as I narrowed down my picks. There are many brands that released product that I love, and I look forward to utilizing them in future projects along with these favorites. Stay tuned for more updates here, and for my personal CHA experience and photos that I took including people please feel free to visit my blog.

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