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In With The New – And Keep The Old Too!

Over the last few months I have been working on purging my craft supplies. As I dig down into the oldest items in my stash (in the time before I was a mom), I’ve discovered something unexpected and wonderful.

Despite all the change, all the constantly evolving trends and new paper lines, there are companies whose products from several years ago are not only still viable but that also still coordinate – and can be updated with – their newer releases. While you might think this would make them stale, instead I believe this gives these products an increased value. I also believe that products from these companies will continue to coordinate and work with future releases. Having a longer shelf life in stores and keeping products relevant in my personal stash is a great thing for companies – and I’d like to take a moment to mention each of them:

The first company I noticed this about was Jenni Bowlin. I still have stickers and papers from years ago that remain just as useful and wonderful as ever alongside her current releases. Not only that, but I sometimes purchase her older products even today because they truly don’t go out of style. Thanks to her signature vintage style, consistent color palette, and ability to create products that are useful and coordinate together so well, I am still just as in love with my older products from Jenni Bowlin as with the newer ones. Jenni Bowlin made the Scrapbook Update Top 10 Hot Picks list for this last CHA show, and it’s no surprise to me. Her products remain timeless treasures.

At the other end of the design rainbow is the always bright and colorful Doodlebug. Known for bright colors and whimsical designs, Doodlebug continues to reinvent the very definition of cute scrapbooking supplies. By staying true to their adorable roots, and continuing to produce products like the above pictured alphabets and buttons, they continue to add onto their lines and create coordinated products that aren’t trend dependent. They base themselves on a core set of colors and a cute aesthetic. By continuing to market fresh product designs with great packaging, Doodlebug manages to stay popular with a wide variety of scrapbookers – from those who simply enjoy their colorful embellishments, to those who appreciate the whimsical designs of their sticker and paper lines.

Finally, we have another CHA Top 10 Hot Pick pick from Scrapbook Update to talk about. I purchased the woodmounted stamp pictured above years ago, and I was delighted to see that this new batch of releases from Tim Holtz included that same image in both paper and sticker form. This is just one example of how Tim continues to keep his ever-growing line of products fresh, while not discarding past designs. You’ll see a lot of browns and creams and kraft, as well as metals in his idea-ology line. The colors not only make it easy to mix and match products from various releases, but also make them perfect to customize to your own preferences.

I like unique releases that stand alone as much as the next crafter, but these brands are ones that have stood the test of time here in my stash, and not only survived my purging efforts but also amaze me with how they still coordinate the older product with the new.

While I feel they are too young to say for sure, I believe there may be several other companies who will choose to follow this path of keeping older product relevant and somewhat coordinated with newer product. Specifically I have my eye on Studio Calico and the Girls’ Paperie, as I’ve been able to mix & match all of their releases so far. There are also companies like KI Memories and American Crafts that continue to release alphabet and general embellishment products that are not tied to any one paper line. This too is something special, as these products are easily mixed with whatever you have on hand or wish to use them with.

I don’t believe that every company can (or should) make coordinating products flow from each new release, but it is a welcome discovery for my budget, and my stash when a company produces coordinating lines. Knowing that some will, and that I’ll be saved the time and energy of trying to find coordinating things for their older products is a lovely thing indeed.

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Scrapbook Update CHA Winter 2011 Top Ten Hot Picks

Many thanks to Contributing Editor May Flaum, who contributed extensively to the creation of this article.

Here it is finally…the Scrapbook Update CHA Winter 2011 Top Ten Hot Picks!

For those new to Scrapbook Update, our CHA Top Ten Hot Picks list are our picks for the products and companies that we saw at CHA that are sure-fire winners, heavily buzzed-about, or groundbreaking in some way.

Making the selections this time around took a long time because it was surprisingly difficult, much more difficult than it usually is after a CHA show. As we discussed on the Roundtable show at CHA, the show felt somewhat muted. There wasn’t a lot of buzz about very many things. The choices weren’t as obvious as after a lot of CHA shows when the air is just electric with excitement about things.

Also, some of the clear standouts were companies that have been heavily featured on recent Top Ten Hot Picks lists from CHA shows. We didn’t want to sound like a broken record, but we also didn’t want to penalize companies who have been consistently on top of the industry lately.

Ultimately, we came up with a great list of products, and it is full of a lot of familiar names. I think that says something about where the industry is right now: We have some companies that are simply dominating certain categories of products from both a market and quality standpoint.

So let’s take a look (in no particular order) at who and what made the Scrapbook Update CHA Winter 2011 Top Ten Hot Picks list!

Tim Holtz

Ok, let’s just get the obvious one out of the way…Nowhere on the show floor are the crowds bigger (except for the big Provo Craft giveaways) than for anything that Tim Holtz does. He is the arguably the most marketable name in scrapbooking right now, with his name on products by Advantus, Ranger, Sizzix, Stampers Anonymous, Core’dinations, and Tonic Studios.

Tim’s workshops have sold out almost immediately at all of the recent CHA shows and this time was no exception. On the show floor, his demos were always surrounded by huge crowds.

Holtz’s products sales are spurred by his marketability and gift for teaching, but also by his brilliant market placement: he exists in an area between mixed media and scrapbooking, enabling him to reach an audience in both markets. His booth displays always contain a mix of everything from scrapbook layouts (including some at CHA Winter 2011 by Scrapbook Update’s own Contributing Editor May Flaum) to shadow boxes and jewelry and other three dimensional decor items.

Perhaps the flagship introduction of the new Tim Holtz products at CHA Winter 2011 was the Distress Stain, a whole new category of Distress colorant from Ranger. Available in 12 Distress palette colors, the Distress Stain comes in 1 oz bottles with a dabber top, similar to walnut ink many scrappers and stampers may have used. Distress Stain is a water-based dye that soaks into porous surfaces like paper. It’s not blendable like the Distress Ink pads are. In CHA demos, Holtz showed its usability for covering large areas (like a tag background) with color and for creating soft ink effects, like a watercolor look, with stamping.

Two of the other new Tim Holtz items at CHA Winter 2011 that look destined to be extremely popular with consumers are his new Kraft Glassine paper (pictured in use with an embossing folder above) and the Core’dinations Distress cardstock pad (photo below shows Tim demonstrating the monochromatic contrast between the outside and the inner core).

His two new patterned paper pads, including one that is kraft colored with resist ink designs on the pages, will also be wildly popular. But in reality, I expect most of his product lines from this show to be top sellers, with a few exceptions.

Core’dinations

Speaking of Core’dinations, it isn’t just their Tim Holtz products that attracted a lot of attention at CHA Winter 2011. This company has been lining up licensing arrangements right and left, taking part in one of the industry’s hottest business trends, and their introductions in Los Angeles were their best to date.

In addition to the Distress and Adirondack pads, they introduced pads for Graphic 45, BasicGrey, and a host of other companies. Perhaps most amazing were the Core D’Amour collections of papers designed by Teresa Collins and Jenni Bowlin. Those papers featured both embossed and printed design elements, with the contrasting color core for distressing. The result is absolutely beautiful. Photos don’t do the depth of the effect justice (a close-up of one of the Jenni Bowlin papers is below).

With all their licensing arrangments, Core’dinations is bringing a lot of design punch to what used to be a boring scrapbooking staple. In the words of Contributing Editor May Flaum, “They’ve made cardstock sexy!”

Cosmo Cricket Glubers

This is one product that I knew instantly when I saw it would be a hot pick! It was one of the few items I heard buzz about in Los Angeles.

Like most of the best ideas, the idea behind Glubers is deceptively simple: it is a giant round dot of adhesive. The brilliance is in the application of that giant dot of adhesive. Cosmo Cricket is marketing Glubers (available in packages of 12 for $4.99 and multiple sizes from 2″ to 3″) as the basis for creating custom fabric flower embellishments, a look that is currently extremely trendy. Booth samples showed fabric, ribbon and other items being used to create large decorative flowers.

Uniformed Scrapbooks of America

There is a huge market for military scrapbooking supplies, but there tends to be little innovation in that market. Heather and Charles Lovern have brought something new with Uniformed Scrapbooks of America, a new exhibitor at CHA Winter 2011 that sells scrapbooks that have covers that appear as if they are made out of a military uniform shirt.

The product was originated when Heather decided to make a scrapbook for her ex-Marine husband, Charles. She sewed a cover for the scrapbook out of one of his uniform shirts…and a new product line was born. The company is licensed by the US Armed Forces. In addition to the album covers, the company also sells customizable embroidered name tapes that adhere to the album cover “shirts” in the appropriate places, and rank insignia to adhere to the shirt collars.

Something fresh like this should be a big hit in communities with a lot of military families who are sick of the same old, same old in military themed scrapbook offerings.

Technique Tuesday

This company revamped their entire offerings for CHA Winter 2011, with dramatic results. Technique Tuesday eliminated virtually all of their alphabet stamp designs from their catalog, and redesigned their packaging to be much smaller. Instead of being packaged on 8.5 x 11 storage sheets, sets are now packaged on 4 x 6 sheets. This will mean stores will need to devote less display space to sell the products. Technique Tuesday has also lowered their price points, important to be more competitive in a market that is flooded with clear stamp designs.

Balancing the shrinking of their alphabet catalog, Technique Tuesday unveiled a large expansion at CHA Winter 2011 of their most popular offerings: their Ali Edwards signature collection. The five new mini sets of sentiments in Edwards’ distinctive handwriting, with an MSRP of $2.99 each (one is pictured above), will certainly be popular. Love, travel and other theme sets round out the stamp set offerings. The company also introduced new paper designs by Edwards in its Perspectives collection.

The company also expanded their popular class kit offerings, including offering a new kit that capitalizes on the trend towards large dimensional flowers in scrapbooking. The “In Bloom” by Technique Tuesday class kit creates 9 flowers and can be taught over one or two class sessions.

Bella Blvd: Sophisticates by Stephanie

Since its inception, Bella Blvd has consistently provided scrapbookers a bright, cheery look without going 100% over into the cute style dominated by companies like Doodlebug and BoBunny. Existing in a middle ground has allowed the company to draw from a wide range of scrapbook customers.

The new Sophisticates by Stephanie collection introduced at CHA Winter 2011 will certainly continue that wide appeal. Consisting of 11 monochromatic patterned papers, 4 embellishment papers, cardstock alphabet stickers, and chipboard alphabets & embellishments, the collection provides good usable basics in Bella’s signature happy color palette.

Bella Blvd is now including their Blooms a Bella flower embellishments as part of the Sophisticates collection, and introduced a new, smaller, size with buttons in the center to the collection.

Jenni Bowlin

Jenni Bowlin showcased an all-star line up of releases at CHA Winter 2011. At the last show she partnered with Ranger and released high quality inks and paint dabbers, and now she’s returned with even more amazing designs and all new products that all vintage loving paper crafters will need. While she has a new paper line, the real star of the show is all of the trinkets and treasures she released that mix so well with any of her current or past products – and that will also appeal to the growing group of papercrafters who are dabbling in mixed media projects. The hidden genius in this release is how simple it is. Packages of little rosette ribbons, colored plastic bows with rhinestones, additions to her Core’dinations cardstock collection, and trend-forward silhouette rub-ons are only a few of the things coming from Jenni this year.

Bowlin is expanding her usual array of goods that go so well with card making, scrapbooking, and altered arts by also adding vintage inspired tins (shown above – projects above and below by Ranjini Malhotra for Jenni Bowlin Studios), as well as vintage inspired wooden thread spools (shown below). These items have any number of uses for home décor and mixed media work. They are fresh additions to the market as well as simple enough to be user friendly.

For those who aren’t into altered items, Jenni has released more of her popular bingo cards. She is also introducing three Hodge Podge mini books that work as a mini book, or can be taken apart and used in other paper craft projects. The materials featured vary from board book to transparency, and they include brass rings to bind them together.

Bowlin now also offers some stamps, as well as more chipboard shapes, flag banner stickers, and even some rhinestone charms. It is obvious that Jenni Bowlin Studio has put time and effort into a release that should be a winner with consumers. These products build on her existing line of products, complementing and adding new dimension to them while at the same time they’re fresh, new, and must-have items.

EK Success Smash Books

These were one of the most buzzed-about items at the show (if not the most buzzed about, period). These fun journals are designed more in the style of “old-fashioned” scrapbooking – to capture the random scraps of our lives – but are very modern in design.

In addition to the four spiral-bound journal designs (which come with a double-ended ink/glue pen), the Smash line includes accessories like date/phrase stamps, page markers, decorative tape and paperclips. The Smash book pages are heavily designed – this product is obviously intended for a young (or at least hip) audience. This isn’t your grandma’s scrapbook!

We R Memory Keepers Lucky 8 Punches

At CHA Summer 2010, We R Memory Keepers caused a buzz with the Sew Easy tool. This time around it was the Lucky 8 border punches that had everyone talking. This company is quickly becoming the company for tool innovation in the scrapbook industry.

The Lucky 8 punches, available in 6 designs, turn any sheet of 12 x 12 paper into die cut paper. Since the punches can cut an outer edge design, an inner edge design, or both designs at once, they can create three different effects from the same punch. Additional effects can be created by punching fewer than the 8 punches needed to do the entire outer edge of a sheet of paper, to create a partial die cut effect (for instance, just doing opposite corners with the inside cut design).

The Lucky 8 punches have an MSRP of $29.99 each, but compared to buying die cut paper at $3/sheet, the savings of using the punch can add up quickly.

Webster’s Pages

They’ve been reliably producing beautiful vintage collections for several shows now, but this time Webster’s Pages hit every note just right with their five new collections. In particular, their new Trendsetter collection is very eye-catching, calling on a more modern period for its look than most of Webster’s collections while still echoing their romantic look.

In particular, some of the collection’s smaller patterns and its embellishments seem to be very usable – even for scrapbookers who aren’t necessarily into Webster’s signature flowery look. Trendsetter may bring a new audience to Webster’s Pages with its more modern, yet still classic, look.

With designs containing butterflies, dress forms, birdcages, and silhouette portraits, Trendsetter’s name is very accurate. It hits on many of the most prevalent trends on the CHA Winter 2011 show floor, while presenting them with Webster’s Pages own signature style.

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Trend Watch: Rosettes

As the new year gets underway and winter CHA products are revealed, there is an obvious trend that continues to grow and flourish: Rosettes. Whether made from crepe paper, ribbon, or patterned paper, they are a hot item to purchase and make. Something I like about them is that they can be used as a circle embellishment, as a center to a larger embellishment, or as a flower. They don’t have the super feminine look that flowers so often do, and the colors and designs can vary from a bright and graphic look, to a more vintage and soft look. In other words – rosettes can be made to suit most any style!

(shown above: American Crafts)

To see how rosettes can be used in something besides a scrapbook layout, check out this Jennifer Gallacher tutorial on making cupcake toppers on the American Crafts blog.

Rosettes are created from strips that are either folded, crumpled, or otherwise pleated into a circle. It’s simple enough to make your own, though I tend to find the process time consuming unless you’re going for a more rustic crumpled look. Here is a link to a great vintage rosette tutorial video by Lain Ehmann.

To make your own folded paper rosette, you’ll simply need to fan fold a strip of paper. I find this tends to be tedious. I never can keep the folds the same size (without considerable amount of effort and time), and the look is never just right when I’m done. When I want to make this style of rosette, I reach instead for my Tim Holtz Alterations rosette die.

If you like the convenience of the die too, you’ll be happy to hear that Tim recently showed a sneak peek on his blog of a new (smaller) rosette die coming soon. So there will be more size options available for those choosing this method of making rosettes.

For a full how-to on using the die, I recommend Tim’s how-to video for his rosette die, as well as a custom rosette video where he doubles up the die cuts to make a bigger (very cool!) rosette.

The Girls’ Paperie has some cool crepe paper layered rosettes available, and I’ve heard that in 2011 the Girls’ Paperie will be one to watch for more vintage inspired rosettes. In fact – as a design team member – I’ve been able to work with some new designs already, and I believe they’re going to be a hit!

In researching for this article, I also found these new K & Co. ribbon rosettes. So lovely! I am excited to see not only new products featuring rosettes, but also more tutorials and project examples with handmade ones popping up on my favorite blogs.

I have been wishing rosette ribbons would start to pop up, and Jenni Bowlin just released this sneak peek of ribbons coming soon. So fantastic! They will be available in several colors, and are already at the top of my wish list.

To show how I put rosettes in action for my own personal style, I created a layout featuring a few of my favorite photos from my girls’ recent meeting with Santa to share today:

Supplies:
Fancy Pants Tradition flocked transparency and buttons
The Girls’ Paperie Tinsel & Twig alphabet stickers, snowflake rosette, and chipboard letters
American Crafts City Park rosette sticker
Tim Holtz Distress Stickles in Rock Candy
Hipstamatic iPhone application
Scrapbook Adhesives by 3L foam adhesive squares
other: rhinestones, kraft cardstock, black pen

From childhood pages filled with whimsy to vintage inspired pages, and for every color out there, there’s likely a way to make a rosette work. I’m sure that the rosette trend is here to stay for a while. It goes so well with many other existing trends (such as banners, vintage, etc) and the materials and options are nearly endless – I’m glad to play with them more this year.

Do you like this product trend? What is your favorite way to put rosettes to use? Please feel free to share with us in the comments!

[Disclosure: May Flaum does design work for The Girls Paperie and Tim Holtz.]

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May’s Product Picks: Vintage Halloween

[Editor's Note: Increased focus on Halloween as a holiday has led to an explosion in the offerings of Halloween-themed scrapbook supplies the past few years. This year, it seemed there were as many Halloween lines on display at CHA Summer 2010 as there might have been Christmas lines five years ago. Halloween is hot - even if you don't live in Florida like I do! In this piece, May brings together two huge trends - vintage and Halloween - to show off red hot (or is that smouldering orange) seasonal picks!]

One of my favorite aspects of scrapbooking holidays is that vintage inspired products are easy to put to use with my photos easily. Thanks to twists on tradition, color combinations that work for a variety of photos, classic designs, and new ideas the scrapbook market is filled this year with vintage inspired bliss. I can’t wait for Halloween to be over just so I can have more photos and reasons to scrapbook!

Today I have five picks to share with you:

Graphic 45′s “Halloween in Wonderland”  [Scrapbook.com] is probably the Halloween collection I’ve heard the most buzz about. The designs are so much fun – it literally is “Halloween in Wonderland!” My personal favorites, though, are the more neutral (black and cream) pieces that could easily lend themselves to many of my non-holiday scrapbook needs.

Anna Griffin’s “Esmerelda” collection [Scrapbook.com] is a dream come true. I usually find her product to be stunning – but my photos never seem quite formal or fancy enough to work well with the product. In this case, I feel like the intricate designs are perfect for any eerie, pumpkin filled, or spooky Halloween photos I might take.

Jenni Bowlin’s chipboard buttons [Scrapbook.com] are a wonderful addition to any stash! I love the jack-o-lanterns and children pieces mixed in with the labels.

Echo Park Paper’s digital Apothecary collection [at jessicasprague.com] combines a classic spooky Halloween look with patterns and designs that could be useful beyond the 31st of October. I love the damask and polka dot pieces especially.

Finally, I may be on the Girls’ Paperie design team, but even if I weren’t I still love their new line Toil & Trouble. It is vintage inspired Halloween product at it’s finest. It doesn’t matter how many projects I make with it – I still adore it! The Crepe Paper embellishments and the stickers (a great value!) are among my favorites – but you can’t go wrong with any of it.

Supplies used on layout:
Girls’ Paperie Ghost Story Paper  Scrapbook.com
Girls’ Paperie  sticker market Scrapbook.com
Girls’ Paperie crepe paper flower market   Scrapbook.com
Girls’ Paperie stamps   Scrapbook.com
Girls’ Paperie  metal glitter charms  Scrapbook.com
Girls’ Paperie flower market Scrapbook.com
Tim Holtz  distress stickles in spiced marmalade  Scrapbook.com
Ranger enamel accents  Scrapbook.com
Ranger UTEE in Platinum
Other: buttons, pen, white cardstock

I could go on all day – My Mind’s Eye’s [Scrapbook.com], Tim Holtz [Two Peas], and Pink Paislee [Scrapbook.com] all have  fantastic offerings as well just to name a few more. There is so much great product to choose from – whether you want elegant or grungy, spooky or whimsical, or something in between you’re sure to find the perfect product for you.

Do you have a favorite supply for Halloween scrapbooking? Feel free to comment here and share with us…

Check out the latest e-book from Ella Publishing by Angie Lucas & Kelly Jeppson:

Journaling that Matters: Simple strategies for finding the right words (by Angie Lucas and Kelly Jeppson)

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CHA Summer 2010: More of “May’s Must-Haves”

I did not attend CHA two weeks ago, but that certainly hasn’t stopped me from drooling over new goodies coming out. From where I sit, the scrapbooking industry is doing amazing things and I feel super inspired by all the products I’ve seen – and I know I’ve not nearly seen it all!

As I surf the internet and manufacturer websites I’ve been gathering some of my favorites. I shared an article before the show with some of my sneak peek favorites, and now I’m back with more. It certainly wasn’t easy to narrow down.  There are a lot of great things! A few I’m especially loving are Tattered Angels, Basic Grey, Cosmo Cricket, Bella Blvd, October Afternoon, and Crate Paper. They all have fantastic looking product coming out.

This article contains a few of my top picks. Oh yes – I have a whole new list of must-have items that are soon to be available. (And I hope it’s sooner than later!)

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