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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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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!)

Continue Reading →

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CHA: The Return of Five Favorites

Editor’s Note: A lot of attention is paid to what is new and different at CHA. Extensions of existing product lines can generate a less exciting reaction, as buyers think that the products aren’t “really” new, or that they’ve seen that before. But for loyal fans of a product, new options in that line can generate almost certain sales for manufacturers and retailers. Bottom line: Adding new SKU’s to existing product lines may not be “sexy” and generate headlines, but it sure can be profitable. Join May as she takes a look here at some reliable product lines that are adding on.

While I love brand new ideas and products, there’s something to be said for getting another helping of an existing favorite.  In viewing all of the sneak peeks of products to come, I’m happy to see some products that were favorites of mine at the last CHA being extended with new designs.

Today I will share five of my favorite items that I’m excited to get another helping of.

Core’dinations makes cardstock cool, and the embossed designs of their Core Impressions line has made them a favorite selection of mine in the past. This show they’ve revealed both Graphic 45 and Stacy Julian as new partners in their great cardstock packs. Combined with the existing Jenni Bowlin [Scrapbook.com], Jillibean Soup [Scrapbook.com], and Cosmo Cricket designs, the pattern and color options continue to dazzle me.

I recall a few years ago when Fiskars border punches were all the rage of the show – the Threading Water [Scrapbook.com|Two Peas|Amazon.com] punch was in such high demand it was nearly impossible to get one for months.  Apron Lace [Scrapbook.com|Two Peas|Amazon.com] and Upper Crest [Scrapbook.com|Amazon.com] were more designs that were super hot, and all of these designs are ones I still use today.  Fiskars released several new must-have designs at CHA Summer 2010 (such as Postage Stamp, Notebook, and In Stitches) at this show, and I’ve already begun looking out for them!

Pink Paislee came out with Artisan Elements at the last show, made from a unique flexible material that is just amazing. I did a review, and I even said that I hoped for more designs. Well, it looks like my wish is about to be answered – they have released new (and bigger) designs including the one pictured above.

Tim Holtz released too many good things to count at CHA Summer 2010, but one item that caught my eye was a new set of Accoutrements – vintage inspired buttons that I’m already anxious to add to my stash! The set currently available [Scrapbook.com|Two Peas] is a favorite of mine, and I’m thrilled that I’ll be adding more to my collection.

Websters Pages is a favorite of mine, and since I love buttons, their vintage [Scrapbook.com|Two Peas] and round sparklers [Scrapbook.com|Two Peas] were a top pick from the winter show. So imagine my glee when I heard that they’re releasing more colors! I am pacing the floor in anticipation of getting my hands on all of these!

These are just five of my favorite things that are returning and adding new options – there are so many wonderful things to come. Do you have a favorite item that is coming back again? Please feel free to share!


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May’s picks {so far} from Summer 2010 CHA peeks

Christmas in July is a reality in the on-line scrapbooking community, as it’s the month of the Summer CHA show where companies reveal all kinds of good things to come for the second half of the year. While I won’t be attending this show, I also have no intentions of falling behind or missing out. I have been checking Scrapbook Update’s peek page in addition to the blogs and Facebook pages I already follow in the industry.

Today I’d like to share a few of my top picks based on the product images I’ve seen so far on-line. With the show still a week away and many things not yet revealed this is the tip of the iceberg I’m sure – but it’s sure a fun thing to uncover, so I wanted to share.

In no order at all, here are products I’ve seen that I can’t wait to get my hands on:

Pink Paislee has done it again. I am most anxious to see their collaboration with House of 3, but their other lines are awesome too. This “old school” line makes me so very happy – especially the plaids and that die cut “members only” paper.

Despite the cost and (of course) availability issues, I still love Prima products. These pink flowers make me so very happy. I don’t just want them – I need them!

I’m THRILLED to see Cosmo Cricket bringing some new items back into the wild west with the line “Wanted”.

I loved the last batch of Lily Bee chipboard elements – and I really like the new offerings too. Can’t wait!

This paper from Jillibean Soup has me super excited! I just love the filmstrip look and see so much potential for the vibrant fall colors.

American Crafts does cute so very well, and it looks like their Love line is going to be no exception.

Continuing as a top pick – Elementary from Studio Calico is a line I want in full. Specifically, I want about 10 sheets of this paper. It’s die cut and just so cute.

I literally squealed when I saw that Tim Holtz is making more tissue tape (a favorite of mine!) and in holiday themes too. Thanks Tim!

Jenni Bowlin is once again knocking my socks off – from stickers to vellum butterflies to new chipboard buttons.

Glitz Design, a company that has worked it’s way up to favorite status for me will firmly stay that way. I love the new stuff – especially this Scarlett line.

My Minds Eye goes hot and cold for me – but this new offering is smoking hot. I adore Lost & Found, and I can’t wait to play!

Looking for a super cute line for those little girls in your life? This is it. I can’t help but smile at this playful collection from My Little Shoebox.

I have a feeling that Webster’s Pages is going to offer up some beautiful things based on what I’ve seen so far on their facebook page. I hope this tinsel trim is the tip of the iceberg!

I will continue my hunt for the latest & greatest as I prepare new articles, reviews, and features to share here. What great things have you located? Is there something you’re hoping for or looking forward to? Please feel free to share – and for links to all of these and many more sneak peeks click this link.


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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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2010: A banner year

Editor’s Note: A few days ago Scrapbook Update identified banners as one of the key product trends at CHA Winter 2010. Now, Contributing Writer May Flaum takes a closer look at that trend.

A few months back, I noticed banner patterned paper in a Studio Calico kit. I’ve also noticed digital brushes and other files from Rhonna Farrer at House of 3 that I like a lot. The more I think about it, the more paper banners make sense in scrapbooking. I am not sure why, but it would seem 2010 is destined to be a year of banners in scrapbooking. This is one trend that is picking up speed quickly!

{image above from American Crafts CHA booth – the Dear Lizzie collection}

Banners were all over the sneak peeks for CHA-Winter, and once on the show floor I noticed them everywhere – both decorating the booths and on product as well. Here are a few examples:

Melody Ross (above) has chipboard that could be turned into a decorative banner, mini book, or so much more. Webster’s Pages (below) has incorporated banners into their paper and ribbon.

The Dear Lizzie line from American Crafts (above) held banners in all forms from paper embellishments and patterned paper to stamps. October Afternoon (below) has a lovely banner sticker in their new “go fly a kite” line.

Making Memories (above) has a whole set of travel stickers full of banners and colors that make me want to take a vacation to somewhere warm. Jenni Bowlin (below) introduced make-your-own banner stickers. I think these are clever, and because they are paired with alphabet stickers on the same sheet, you can make titles or decorative accents for your projects as well.

Maya Road, The Girls’ Paperie, and several other companies also have products with banners coming out. There’s so many choices! Now, as products become available in stores, the next question is – how will I incorporate this trend in my crafting? My number one suggestion is that you make sure that your banners aren’t just floating around on your project. Ground them to the edge of a photo, to the edge of the paper, to an embellishment, or to some other element on your page.

To make your own banners, I have two suggestions. First, try cutting out squares of patterned paper and then cutting from the bottom center up to the top corner of each side. This will give you a pretty triangle like the example I’ve shown below.

My second suggestion is that you use a triangle punch, or if you want a different feel you can use a circle punch and cut it in half and string the pieces together.

Here is a layout I created with the new Jenni Bowlin banner stickers:

supplies: New Jenni Bowlin stickers and buttons, October Afternoon patterned paper from Thrift Shop line, Prima flowers and rhinestones, American Crafts pen, unknown trim, cardstock, and buttons

I went for a relaxed imperfect look to my banner, and I really like how these stickers come with little alphabet letters. The neutral colors will work well for a number of page subjects.

I look forward to seeing banners incorporated in more pages as these products hit the shelves. From every day occasions to birthdays, I can see a lot of possibilities here. Across the top, in the center, for titles, over a corner, at the bottom, or any other way you cut it – I am loving this new trend!

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