As you saw in the brief updates we gave you on Day 1 and Day 2, we had an absolute blast at the CHA Summer 2010 trade show in Chicago. It was an exhausting but amazing couple of days, and we loved every minute of it. Oh my goodness, we saw so many wonderful things and met so many wonderful people!
Now that we’re back home, we’re so excited to finally tell you in detail about our favorite new products that we saw. There were so many that it was hard to choose, but here are our top ten!
|eCraft by Craftwell|
Every show we go to, we see more and more electronic devices being featured, and so many of them have to do with custom cutting that it’s astounding. But none of the devices we saw even come close to the wonder that is the eCraft by Craftwell. We first saw the eCraft at last summer’s show and we were amazed then, but now it’s SO much better!
It can do all of the same ordinary paper cutting that you can do with a Slice, Cricut, or Silhouette. But the eCraft takes it further — you can cut just about any material, with NO CUTTING MAT! If that weren’t enough, it can cut paper from 12″ wide to ANY length, it can automatically feed itself multiple sheets for virtually unlimited cutting, and it comes with professional design software to let you create your own designs. It can kiss-cut vinyl and stickers (that means it cuts through the top layer but not the backing) and it can cut frosting sheets for cake decorating! (Goodbye Cricut Cake, Hello eCraft!) I’m starting to think there’s not anything this machine won’t do.
While we were at the Craftwell booth, we were lucky enough to have the lovely Emily give us a demo of the machine. Take a look and see for yourself how awesome it is.
If you canâ€™t see the video above, you can view it directly here.
We also had the great pleasure of meeting Suede, a fashion designer who appeared on Season 5 of Project Runway, which just happens to be one of our favorite TV shows. Suede was an absolutely delight to talk with, and we really enjoyed hearing his insights about being on Project Runway. He showed us three dressed that he designed with the eCraft, using fabric, glittered paper, felt, and — believe it or not — wood! They were amazing, and a real testament to the incredible versatility of the eCraft.
The eCraft by Craftwell is due in stores by September, and we are so excited! We can’t wait to get our hands on one. If you want to keep up to date on the latest eCraft happenings, be sure to check out the Craftwell site frequently or follow them on Facebook!
UPDATE! – The eCraft is now available for purchase at Scrapbook.com.
One of the most fun booths we visited was that of Plaid, the makers of our favorite craft paints and so much more. You may remember last year’s show when we learned about their Simply Screen line of screen printing tools that are about a zillion times easier (and more affordable) than more complex systems like the Yudu. We actually have some fun ideas for using Simply Screen on projects in the near future, so be sure to check back soon for details!
This year, the fun-loving folks at the Plaid booth showed us how to decorate glassware with Folk Art Enamels and adhesive stencils, and I made a really cute glass that was my highlight of Day 2 at the show. The possibilities are endless with this super easy painting technique, and you can learn more about it at PlaidOnline.com, where you’ll also find a whole bunch of glass painting project ideas.
While at the booth, we got to meet a couple of ladies who we’d been wanting to meet for a while. Candie Cooper (one of Plaid’s amazing designers) and Amy Anderson (Plaid blogger extraordinaire) were an absolute delight!
If you love Plaid as much as we do, be sure to check out their newest blog, Paint Me Plaid, where you’ll learn about all about paint, from techniques to projects to tips with using color. Also check out the inspirational Mod Podge Rocks blog, where you can get lots of ideas for using that classic decoupage material to create the most amazing things.
Anybody visiting the CHA show looking for innovation need go no further than the Photocentric booth. I hope you’re ready to hear about something really great, because they had the most amazing product.
The clever minds at Photocentric have come up with a super easy, at-home kit for making your own custom polymer stamps! In a matter of five minutes from start to finish, you can turn any black-and-white design into a custom stamp that’s ready to be inked and used to personalize all of your paper crafts! It’s affordable and easy, too. The Stampmaker Kit includes a UV light box, clamp, and 10 polymer packets that can be used to create your own custom creations.
Wanna see just how easy it is? The charming Charlie was happy to give us a full demo so we could tape it to share with you.
If you canâ€™t see the video above, you can view it directly here.
If you’re a serious rubber stamper or do a lot of custom work for clients, this might be just the way to speed up your process and save money. Just think of the possibilities!
We could not attend another CHA show without stopping to say hi to our dear friend Kathy, otherwise known as The Crafty Chica. She was working at the Tulip booth, and while there was no cloud of glitter surrounding her like we thought there would be, she was still full of energy and smiles, and happy to helps us use Tulip’s One-Step Tie Dye Fashion Kits to decorate our own messenger bags.
Kathy armed us with plastic gloves, bottles of spray ink, plastic stencils, various bits of lace and other fabrics (all included in the kit), and blank white bags.
It didn’t take us long to use all the supplies to create fun designs on our bags. We especially liked the results we got from using the doily as a stencil and then as a stamp.
What a fun (albeit messy) project this was. We just love how Tulip has managed to make tie dye so much easier with this great line of one-step spray inks.
A special thanks to Kathy for also giving us a copy of her latest novel, Waking up in the Land of Glitter. We can’t wait to read it!
Zen what? Zentangles! Jo and I had never heard of this art form before one of our readers mentioned it to us a few weeks ago. As soon as we saw the Zentangles booth, we recognized it and immediately stopped to learn more about it.
The best way I can describe Zentangles is to call them fancy and artful doodles. If you check out some of the photos in the gallery on Zentangle.com, you’ll probably be as intimidated as we were at first. But relax, because it’s really SO much easier than you think it is!
What’s truly amazing is that the most intricate Zentangle patterns can actually be broken down into simple repetitive steps. That’s exactly what we were shown when given blank stamped images of a jar and hearts. Then we flipped through the sample designs in some Zentangle idea books, picked a few we liked, and followed the steps to create really fun effects.
Just check out these two photos to see what I mean. The one on the left shows a lot of sample projects that were on display. The one on the right shows our Zentangles that we created in about 5 minutes with minimal instruction. We’d never done it before and they came out so neat!
From what we were told, Zentangles are great for passing the time on a plane, while half-watching TV, or just to relax. It’s neat how something that seems so complex is actually very soothing and Zen to work on. I can’t wait to do more!
Any crafter who has tried to be mobile with her supplies knows that it can be a challenge, and the folks at Craft-n-doodle are doing all they can to help. Brand new on the market, the Craft-n-doodle case combines a wonderful wheeled cart full of tons of compartments with a set of essential tools every crafter needs.
Every Crop-n-doodle case comes complete with tools like a wavy cutter, stamping system, embossing/scoring tool, slicer, ruler, cutting mat, and circle cutter! And the best part of all is the fold-out working surface that makes it easy to craft just about anywhere. Designed by a crafter and mother of eight, the Craft-n-doodle is lightweight, easy to use, and able to turn just about any spot into a craft workspace in seconds. It’s also full of pockets and drawers that will delight any crafter.
We have to send a special shout-out to Dominick, the “Crafty Cop” from Craft-n-doodle who befriended us during the show and gave us plenty of laughs. We met him before we even went in to the show on the first day, and he invited us to visit the booth. Then we spotted him several times on the show floor, giving people “tickets” that summoned them to appear at the Craft-n-doodle booth for special giveaway drawings. He made us laugh every time!
A very popular trend in crafting these days that we’ve definitely noticed is custom book binding. There are several solutions out there, but our favorite by far is the Unibind Photobook Creator. This device makes it so incredibly easy to make custom bound books that it’s crazy!
You start by selecting one of the many wonderful covers available, then gather your pages to put inside. This is where you can really use your imagination, because the pages can be just about anything. You can make a book filled with printed pages of pictures, actual 4×6 photos printed at the store, homework, kids’ artwork, plastic or paper envelopes, invitations, recipe cards, and more!
Once you’re selected all your pages and stacked them up, you just plop them into the cover and stand it on its end in the binder tool, which heats up the resin in the spine and attaches all the pages to the book. In a matter of minutes, you can go from a stack of papers to a complete, bound book.
At the Unibind booth at the show, we did a make-and-take where we created a Christmas planner in a gorgeous red book cover. The planner included pages for recipes, an envelope for receipts, a calendar page, and lots more. I can’t wait to use it this winter to help me plan the holidays.
If you’d like to see some more examples of what you can do with this machine, check out the Unibind customer project collection. The possibilities are endless with this fun machine!
Just the other day, Jo was telling me how much she hates scanning things. Something about having to deal with the big, bulky scanner and then transporting images to a computer to deal with just annoys her. So I knew I’d found something she would really love when I spotted the Flip-Pal mobile scanner. This is one crazy cool little device!
Forget about large machines that take up space on your desk and can’t travel with you. Forget about long cables and obnoxious noises. Scanning is actually fun with the Flip-Pal. As big as an average book, it’s perfectly sized for scanning your printed 4×6 photos anywhere, like at a scrapbooking crop or at your friend’s house. It’s unbelievably easy to carry with you, making it a truly mobile option for any crafter.
As a regular scanner, it’s great… but that’s not where it really shines. The Flip-Pal is so awesome because the cover comes off and you can flip it over to scan items without moving them! You just place the scanner over the item (you can see right through it so lining it up is a breeze) and push a button. In just a few seconds’ time, you have a digital copy written to a removable SD card, ready to put on your computer, e-mail to a friend, or print.
You might wonder when this flipping ability would come in handy. Well, you know those magnetic-page photo albums your mom has in the closet that she won’t let you open because the pages will never stick again? No problem, just scan them right on the page, without having to remove them. What about that book excerpt you want to study for a test, or the quilt block your grandma made and framed? It’s so easy to scan anything that you won’t believe it.
You can even use the included photo stitch software to scan large items that are bigger than the scanning surface. Just scan multiple areas of the image and let the software put them together into one big image. With innovation like this, it kind of makes you wonder what they’ll think of next!
The most popular make-and-take at the show (and therefore the one with the longest lines!) was at the s-e-i booth, where we got to make adorable monster T-shirts! Monsterville is s-e-i’s newest line, which includes scrapbook paper and stickers with the cutest little scary monsters you’ve ever seen.
The iron-ons we used to create our T-shirts were really fun because we were able to pick our monsters’ bodies, arms, eyes, mouths, and more. We were able to get really creative and it was so much fun.
I can’t wait until these stickers and iron-ons are available in stores, because we just love them to pieces and I know Little Jo and my niece would have a blast making their own crazy monster T-shirts.
|My Friendship Bracelet|
When it comes to the tween age range, nothing says friendship like a friendship bracelet. There are lots of techniques out there (like my recent tutorial on macrame), and choosing the right one to use depends a lot on your age and skill level. When we saw the My Friendship Bracelet Maker at the show, we knew we’d found the easiest way to jump on the friendship bracelet bandwagon.
This device makes it so much easier to make your own bracelets. The clip holds the knot in place and the string holders keep the ends from tangling. The best part is that the whole tool is a clipboard, working surface, and carrying case! It comes complete with pre-cut string in several colors, and is a great way to keep your work contained and neat, and easy to transport to a friend’s slumber party or afternoon play date.
For lots of tips and some really great instructional videos for making friendship bracelets with this cool tool, check out MyFBM.com today. You can even join the Friendship Club and share your stories and photos with other bracelet makers.