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A Look Inside Creativation 2019

Creativation 2019 passed in a whirlwind of travel and long show days! Here’s a look at what I did and saw during my three and a half days in Phoenix to attend the show.

[Disclaimer: This content is sponsored by AFCI and the Creativation 2019 show. I am a member of the Plaid blogger program.]

Creativation Show logo

To get to Phoenix, I left Daytona Beach before dawn on a 6am flight. It made for a long day, but with some quick footwork through Atlanta Hartsfield airport it got me on board a flight to Phoenix that landed before 11am!

Atlanta Hartsfield airport

When we left Atlanta, the crew announced that our arrival in Phoenix would be their very first time arriving at the just opened new terminal in Phoenix. The new terminal, while it might feel small to people more familiar with massive airports like Atlanta, is gleaming and beautiful. With excellent shopping and plenty of restaurants, travelers will find everything they need. (Especially if that thing is coffee – I counted no less than three Starbucks between curbside and my gate!) Being a modern terminal, it also has plenty of power outlets for gadget recharging and even laptop workstations. All in all, it is a vast improvement over the massive construction zone that has greeted Creativation attendees the past two years!

Phoenix Convention Center

The Phoenix Convention Center consists of three huge buildings, taking up several city blocks. The one on the left hosts Creativation.

The building on the right was hosting a a Harley event, among other things, during Creativation this year. People staying at the Hyatt Regency, Renaissance and other hotels walk through that building as a shortcut to get to where they are staying. There’s also a popular Starbucks that can be reached by walking through that building.

People driving to the show location on Sunday morning this year may have encountered another event that Phoenix was hosting during Creativation – the Rock n’ Roll marathon. It closed a couple of streets a few blocks from the convention center for a time early Sunday morning.

The first two days of Creativation are education days. Many classes were sold out, and attendees lined up early to get their pick of seats. Attendees in the photo below were lining up for an Altenew class on Friday that was scheduled to start shortly after I took the photo.

Friday Altenew class

One of the best reasons to take a class, even if you are an experienced crafter, is to learn a new technique. Sara Naumann taught a packed class on Friday how to do various techniques with WOW! embossing powders.

Friday Sara Naumann Wow

Mixed media is taking over the paper crafts industry. Judging by attendance at Dyan Reaveley’s art journaling class for her Ranger Dylusions line that I visited, lots of industry people are interested in learning more about it!

Friday Dyan Reavely class

Another popular mixed media education event was the Jane Davenport “workalong”, where attendees learned how to use Jane’s product line from Spellbinders.

Friday Jane Davenport workshop

Calligraphy is the up-and-coming hot thing in the industry. World famous calligrapher Paul Antonio, who has a product line with Spellbinders, drew a crowd of aspiring calligraphers in his class.

Friday Paul Antonio class

Just as important to running a successful craft industry business as creative education is business education. A variety of business classes were on offer for show attendees, including seminars for store owners from the ever-popular Kizer & Bender. Below, 2019 AFCI Industry Achievement Award honoree Tammy Browning-Smith teaches a class called “What to Share: Sponsorships, Endorsements & Interests”.

Friday Tammy Browning-Smith class

Friday evening, the traditional New Product Showcase took place. This year the showcase was in a space on the back of the show floor. Since construction was still going on building booths, showcase attendees walked down an aisle that had been draped off on both sides to reach the showcase. The showcase area was curtained off on all sides as well to screen unfinished booths from view.

The early part of the showcase event was wall-to-wall (curtain-to-curtain?) people, as attendees fought to weave their way through the crowd to the showcases for their first glimpses of what might be the next hot product.

Friday New Product Showcase

Once some of the crowd filtered out for dinner, it became a bit easier to get a view of the various different products.

Friday New Product Showcase 2

If you missed the Facebook Live that I did from the New Product Showcase after the crowd thinned out, you can view it below via YouTube:

Saturday morning arrived, and with it, the opening of the show floor for business! Entrance to the hall was via an entrance that was decorated to look like a house, declaring the theme “Home is where creativity is!”

AFCI Creativation 2019 entrance banner

Once the show floor opened up, attendees quickly filtered throughout the hall to their chosen destinations and the hall that had held a hushed quiet moments earlier began to buzz with activity!

Creativation 2019

Creativation 2019

Some attendees, of course, headed straight for their favorite companies’ booths to start looking over products and placing orders. (Echo Park is shown below.)

Echo Park Creativation 2019

My Facebook Live from the Echo Park booth shows how busy they were – I kept running into people while running around trying to film!

Many booths were offering make & takes, and so that is where a lot of attendees headed when the doors opened. The chance to try a product out before they order, and create a sample to take home to their stores, is invaluable to many store owners.

Here, attendees take part in the Tim Holtz idea-ology make & take while others wait their turn in line.

idea-ology Creativation 2019

(And yes, that cap and those bare legs can only mean one thing…that’s the one and only Mario Rossi keeping an eye on the whole operation from in the aisle.)

In a different area of the hall, Lynn from Spellbinders had show attendees die cutting, stamping and coloring at the make & take she was running.

Spellbinders Creativation 2019

Over at the Hampton Art/Jillibean Soup booth, show attendees participated in a make-n-take that created a trendy embroidery hoop wall art project.

Jillibean Soup Creativation 2019

Seth Apter had his make-n-take students at Paper Artsy getting so mixed media ink and paint happy that aprons were required for everyone’s protection!

Seth Apter Creativation 2019

For those who wanted to get hands on with the latest stamps, a demo area in the Creativation Stamping Village provided a variety of make & take options throughout the weekend. The stamping village also included a large social area (behind the demo area in the photo below) to rest your tired feet between turns at the make & take table, or to peruse catalogs before handing in your order at nearby booths.

Stamping Village Creativation 2019

While there were many make & takes on the floor that were “drop in” opportunities, some educational events on the Creativation show floor were more scheduled. Some, like the classes taking place in the Plaid booth, required signing up for a seat in advance. A few lucky show attendees got to fill extra seats by lining up to replace last-minute no shows (like a certain scrapbook news blogger who completely lost track of time Saturday morning while doing a Facebook Llive and suddenly realized I’d missed my scheduled class….whoops!)

Plaid Creativation 2019

It wasn’t just exhibitors offering scheduled education on the show floor. AFCI was offering offering an organized slate of education at both the Schoolhouse and the Sweet Spot. The Sweet Spot education, as its name implies, was for food crafting while the Schoolhouse offered business education sessions.

Saturday schedule Creativation 2019

The Schoolhouse was a really convenient venue for attendees to get education right on the show floor (and the events were free). This session on Sunday by Kaylee Pope on email newsletters – an important topic for most industry businesses – was well attended by industry professionals eager to learn how to improve their newsletter usage.

Schoolhouse Creativation 2019

For some show attendees, scheduled educational events in the booths extended outside show hours as various companies hosted early morning events for buyers and/or media. In the photo below, Plaid Senior VP Debbie Henley talks to members of the Plaid blogger program about the company’s new Mod Podge Ultra product on Sunday morning.

Plaid Creativation 2019

One of the quasi-scheduled items on the show floor is always the appearances in their various booths by popular designers. Many of them have to bounce between multiple companies where they have products so you have to pay attention to the schedule to know where to catch them when.

Calligrapher Paul Antonio, a relative newcomer to the Creativation celebrity guest scene, could be seen in the Spellbinders booth promoting his product line.

Paul Antonio Spellbinders Creativation 2019

And of course, Tim Holtz attracted a crowd at Ranger as usual. This year he was demonstrating his new Distress Oxide Sprays.

Tim Holtz Creativation 2019

Knowing the schedule so you can get to a celebrity designer’s demonstration right when it starts (or even before) is very important. It’s the only way usually to get a front row seat. This is especially important if you want to film – and it seems these days, everyone does.

Increasingly, demonstrations on the show floor, especially of the most popular companies, look like the one below by Seth Apter. Designers face a wall of cameras, and within minutes of it ending a half-dozen versions of their demonstration will be online for the public to view on Facebook, YouTube, or other video services.

Seth Apter Creativation 2019

It’s not just demonstrations being filmed, either. Christine Urias and her husband Mark Giles of ScrapTime have long been known for their high quality booth tours from the show, and now the genre has become a industry standard for anyone producing video content.

ScrapTime Creativation 2019

A few companies even bring in major tech for their Creativation filming, like this crew I ran into in the Hero Arts booth.

Creativation 2019

And of course, I can’t forget to mention the original livestreamer from the show floor…Elena from Charity Wings! She was doing her usual livestream this year with a new assistant, her adorable son Devin. It seemed everyone at the show wanted to meet Elena’s “baby unicorn”. And who could blame them – he was the cutest thing at the show!

Charity Wings Creativation 2019

And why did so many people want to meet Baby Devin? It’s because crafting is a community, and through our journey in it we make so many friends of other people in the community. Creativation is a chance to come together with those friends and share our journeys, wins and losses from the last year. It’s a chance to get inspiration from each other, learn from each other, and even find new partnerships to build.

(Now if I could only get someone on the show floor to teach me how to take a better selfie…)

Cynthea Stephanie Creativation 2019

This community is why the day doesn’t end when the show doors close. There were plenty of events to attend after hours at Creativation this year – the Prime VIB blogger party, a Hero Arts event, and a social event hosted by Simon Says Stamp, to name a few – but I opted instead for quiet dinners with what I consider some of my industry mentors. There is something to be said for sitting down and talking about where you are at, where you are going, and what your challenges are with just a few trusted compatriots.

Doing this meant taking advantage of some of downtown Phoenix’s wide assortment of restaurants. I think my mom nearly disowned me when I texted her this picture of her basketball idol’s restaurant – and then told her we weren’t stopping.

Majerles Phoenix

But we were headed to another kind of burger joint, called The Counter. Here, there are so many options of ways to get your burger (including even what kind of patty and bread) that they give you a paper form to fill out checking off what you want! So yes, if you want to have grilled pineapple and bbq sauce on your burger…you can totally have it! I did, and it was delicious. And the fries were amazing. And the root beer float made the perfect dessert!

The Counter Phoenix

But if steak is more your speed, The Arrogant Butcher is the hip place to be in downtown Phoenix. This prime rib practically melted in my mouth, and the flourless chocolate cake was so rich I couldn’t even finish it!

arrogant butcher phoenix

arrogant butcher phoenix

Stay tuned for more reports on Scrapbook Update about Creativation 2019…and if you missed it, be sure to check out the Scrapbook Update Creativation 2019 Top 10 Hot Picks!

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2017 Creativation Trends for Scrapbooking

One of the greatest thing about attending a trade show is that seeing so many product introductions all in one place at one time really brings into focus the trends that are taking place in the industry at that moment. Here’s a look at some of the top 2017 Creativation trends for scrapbooking.

[Disclaimer: Some links below are advertiser links or affiliate links that pay this site a commission at no cost to the reader when a purchase is made after a click.]

Puffy Stickers

Perhaps this is part of the growing trend of 1980’s nostalgia, but whatever the reason, puffy stickers were making their presence felt as a trend on the Creativation show floor. American Crafts used this sticker style across several of their brands, including Maggie Holmes, Crate Paper and Pink Paislee. But it was also seen in the Jillibean Soup and Echo Park booths, among others.

Below: Maggie Holmes “Chasing Dreams” Puffy Stickers

Creativation Trends - Maggie Holmes puffy stickers

Stamp Presses

Since the introduction of the MISTI created what is arguably an entirely new tool category for the industry, other companies have rushed to introduce their own versions of a stamp press. We R Memory Keepers released theirs last year, and at Creativation, Hampton Art and Tonic Studio (under its Tim Holtz signature line) added their versions to the mix. This trend is definitely being fed by the increasing interest in stamping in the papercrafts market, especially layered stamping. The growing DIY party market (with the mass production of items like invitations and table decorations) is also a factor in their popularity.

Below: Hampton Art Stamp Perfect stamp press

Creativation Trends -Hampton Art Stamp Perfect 10x10

 

Geo Shapes

These geometric shapes that appear to be faceted or geodesic started appearing a lot in stamps and dies last year, and the trend continued at the Creativation show with products like this die from Spellbinders’ collection by designer Lene Lok. This trend is one of those “universal” style trends that can be adapted for any season or theme, so its life isn’t artificially limited by changing seasons (like the flamingoes below).

Below: Spellbinders Lene Lok collection.

Creativation Trends -Spellbinders Lene Lok

Planner Madness

Trend doesn’t cover the level that planners have reached in the papercrafts industry. They are rapidly reaching full-on market domination, Creativation brought an avalanche of products for planners. Companies that had previously experimented with the market dived head long in and companies that had yet to enter the market dipped their toes in. Ranger, which markets itself mostly as a mixed media company, added a planner to its Dylusions line by Dyan Reavely. The trend’s influence is visible even in lines not being explicitly sold as “planner” products, as “planner friendly” products like small stickers and washi tape are being seen more in papercrafts lines.

Below: Dylusions by Dyan Reavely Creative Dyary.

Creativation Trends -Dylusions planner

Flocks of Flamingoes

We started to see the flamingoes pop up in last summer’s beach and tropical themed lines, but this summer scrapbooking is being invaded by entire flocks of flamingoes. There’s stamps, dies, patterned papers, stickers – almost anything you can imagine has a flamingo on it! Echo Park, Crate Paper, and Spellbinders are just a handful of the industry names that are going to the (pink) birds for 2017.

Below: Lawn Fawn “Baby Flamingo” clear stamps

Creativation Trends -Lawn Fawn Flamingo stamps

Emojis

They’re not just for for internet hipsters anymore – emojis are cool for everyone. And with emojis making their way into the home decor and fashion markets, it was only a matter of time before we started seeing them in the crafts market. They’ve popped up in a few places in the past, but at Creativation they were much more noticeable. DCWV was prominently displaying a set of icons for its new letterboard, and Simple Stories introduced an entire emoji-inspired collection called “Emoji Love”.

Below: Simple Stories “Emoji Love” clear stickers

Creativation Trends -Simple Stories Emoji Love

Americana/Farmhouse

We usually see patriotic lines released late spring for the Memorial Day and July 4th holidays. But this year they reflect a new trend showing itself in home decor and fashion: Americana/Farmhouse. While Americana is red, white and blue like its patriotic themed counterparts, there are some key differences. Patriotic themed design is centered around red and white stripes and white stars on a navy background. But in Americana theme, the designs include those elements along with things like flowers, cows (or buffalos), bandana print, and other so-called “country” graphics.

Below: Pink Paislee “Sweet Freedom”

Creativation Trends -Pink Paislee Sweet Freedom Samples

Everything Old is New Again

Trends in the crafts industry tend to be cyclical, both in the sense of what craft is popular at a given time, and also in style trends. We’re seeing a real avalanche of trends and products this year that harken back to the industry’s early days. Hand lettering, foam stamps, rub-ons, cute animal characters, and the dominance of pens were among just a few of of the things on the Creativation show floor making me wonder if I’d time traveled to the early days of the 21st century again.

Below: Tim Holtz idea-ology Tag Press

Creativation Trends -Tim Holtz tag maker

Foam Stamps

One of the “old is new” products currently growing in market presence are foam stamps. Back in the early days of the scrapbooking boom, foam stamps were one of the commonly available supplies to scrapbookers since the stamps were already on the market for use in painting and home decor. Making Memories in its hey day of being a trendsetter even made some specifically for the scrapbooking market, including popular alphabets. They were loved for their affordability, but fell in popularity when the market began to be infatuated with affordable clear stamps.

With the rise of mixed media and increasing use of paint in papercrafting, foam stamps – designed for use with paints – have been creeping back into the market again. Prima launched some a few years ago. Last year, mixed media artist Julie Fei-Fan Balzer launched a line of foam stamps with Canadian company Art Foamies, and Heidi Swapp launched foam stamps in her line as well. Creativation saw more releases, including from Tim Holtz’s idea-ology line.

Below: Tim Holtz idea-ology Cling Foam Stamps

Creativation Trends -Tim Holtz idea-ology Foam Stamps

Hand Drawn Lettering

Another blast from the past that is rapidly gaining in popularity is the art of hand drawn lettering. This look was so popular in the early days of the industry that its popularity gave us the designer who is one of the biggest names in today’s industry, Becky Higgins. Partially driven today by the popularity of Bible journaling, this resurgent trend is spawning books, pens, stencils and even stamps to fake the look of hand done art.

Below: Tammy Tutterow collection by Spellbinders

Creativation Trends -Spellbinders Tammy Tutterow booth samples

Letter Boards

Retro looks and signage have been very popular lately, so perhaps it was only a matter of time before the letter board came back. These old style boards that could have letters or words anchored in their crevices were popular before that age of computer signage. Now they are back courtesy of craft industry brands like Heidi Swapp and DCWV.

.Below: Heidi Swapp Letterboard

Creativation Trends - Heidi Swapp Letterboard

Butterflies

It’s not uncommon to see a sprinkling of butterflies this time of year, but this year we are seeing hordes of colorful ones. Butterflies are being used in overall designs on patterned paper from One Canoe Two and Maggie Holmes, along with on many embellishments. This versatile trend covers themes from spring to little girl to nature.

Below: One Canoe Two “Hazelwood – Flock” patterned paper.

Creativation Trends - One Canoe Two Hazelwood Butterfly paper

Mixed Media

The past few years have seen the scrapbooking industry dominated by a trend toward “mixed media”. In case there was any question about whether mixed media was still going strong, two of the three new signature lines introduced by American Crafts at Creativation were mixed media lines: Jane Davenport and Vicki Boutin. Other companies such as Prima and Faber-Castell continued to expand their mixed media offerings, proving that they are still all in on this craft concept that combines various areas of the industry.

Below: Jane Davenport collection by American Crafts

Creativation Trends - Jane Davenport collection

Bible Journaling

It’s hard to believe that the launch of Bella Blvd’s “Illustrated Faith” brand with Shanna Noel was barely less than two years ago. Since then, Bible journaling has become a true force in the papercrafting industry, influencing the launch of mixed media products, stencils, stamp lines, and even a trend toward hand drawn lettering.

Below: Faber-Castell Bible Journaling Kit

Creativation Trends - Faber Castell Bible Journaling

What Creativation trends are your favorites? What trends did you see at the show?

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SNAP Conference 2016: My First Blogging Conference

Somehow, with all of the travel that I have done for my work running my websites in the past few years, the one thing that I hadn’t done was attend one of the major national blog conferences. I had attended local events like WordCamp here in Florida, but hadn’t traveled further afield for one.

I finally crossed “attend blog conference” off of my list last week when I attended the 2016 SNAP Conference  for creative bloggers in Salt Lake City. For those unfamiliar with it, SNAP Conference is a three day annual event based in Salt Lake City that serves home, craft, and DIY bloggers. The event provides networking, education, and opportunities to connect with sponsors.

Delta Flight Information

My journey to SNAP started with a 4am drive to Daytona Beach International airport to catch a 6am flight to Atlanta. I love Daytona Beach airport – it’s only a half hour away from my house and easy to use because it is tiny. It’s so tiny, in fact, that when I checked in for my trip to SNAP, the check-in agent handed me my boarding pass and said, “Your flight is at gate 2.” I told him, “You could have just said go to the gate with the plane at it.” He laughed and told me I was right. Once, I arrived a bit too early for my flight and spent quite awhile as the lone passenger in the secure area of the terminal, with only the airport’s police officer and the gift store clerk for company. Continue Reading →

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CHA Mega Show 2016 | Succulents are Hot!

The CHA Mega Show is a great place to distill scrapbooking trends and craft trends, with so much of the industry and its products in one place for the show. Walking the show floor, patterns and themes become easily apparent – trends!

One thing that kept popping up as I walked the floor of this year’s CHA Mega Show was succulents for crafts! This trend, an outgrowth of the general 1970’s trend in crafts, fashion, and home decor, started to manifest in 2015, but really became prevalent at this show.

Several companies were using real live succulents in their booth decor as a touch of green:

Webster's Pages planner display with succulents

Webster’s Pages planner display with succulents

Continue Reading →

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Tammy Tutterow & Seth Apter Sign with Spellbinders

Designers Tammy Tutterow and Seth Apter have both announced deals with Spellbinders to produce product lines with the company that will debut at the CHA Mega Show 2016.

Tammy_tutterow_seth_apter_web

Tutterow’s announcement had been somewhat expected by industry watchers, after she left her long time position with Ranger earlier this year for what she said was a wonderful opportunity with another company. Spellbinders and Ranger engaged in something of a game of musical chairs this summer, with near simultaneous announcements of Tutterow departing the Ranger fold for her new deal with Spellbinders, and Ice Resin (previously partnered with Spellbinders) signing a partnership with Ranger. Continue Reading →

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Update | Project Life, Publication Calls & More!

It’s time for another Update news round-up!

Leadership. Spellbinders announced on June 11th that, effective immediately, co-founder Stacey Caron is “stepping away from all day-to-day business activities within the company” but “will continue to be an important creative driver” for the brand. No reason was given for the change at the company.

Caron’s husband and company co-founder, Jeffrey Caron, left his own previous role as CEO of the company in 2013 when an outside investment firm was brought in following the company’s disastrous patent infringement lawsuit against QuicKutz.
People. Jennifer Gallacher has a new position behind the scenes at Jessica Sprague’s digital Scrap.Click.Supply website. While this is exciting for users of that website, Scrapbook Expo attendees will be disappointed to learn that the popular designer is leaving behind her work teaching and blogging for Scrapbook Expo to make time for the new position. Continue Reading →

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