This was my 3rd time at CHA this year but this particular occasion was different.
Different location (Donwtown LA) and different reason for being there (Demonstrating but not protesting....lol).
I was representing Letraset, showcasing their Promarkers, Trias and Aquamarker pens. The ranges are incredibly diverse and I wanted to show them working in unique and fun ways as opposed to just "colouring in stamps". I love colouring in stamps and images but these pens can do so much more. You know, CHA caters for more than the stamping sector- it also showcases products for illustrators, mixed media artists, scrapbookers, cardmakers and fine artists. This meant coming up with demonstrations to fit all of the above. However, this years show saw a plethora of new and exciting stamping companies as well as scrapbook manufacturers with heaving amounts of stamps in their ranges; it seemed like perfect timing for Letraset to be there.
The price point of Letraset in the US is favourable, allowing potential customer to get almost two pens for the price of one against its US competitors. The fact that Promarkers have considerably more ink in them also thrusts the potential of its growth into a frenzy. And with huge scrapping and crafting stars swooning over their "alcohol ink" style ability, it turns what is essentially a marker into a marker with a bit of oomph. With artists swooning at their brilliance, these markers were most definitely the buzz of the show. Letrasets newest fans range from Celine Navarro to Jen Starr, Julie Bergman (below)
and Brenda Pinnick to Cathy Allen and Creating Keepsakes including Nat Kalbach, Birgit Koopsen (below - love Birgit......one of my fave Dutchies)
and Natasja Verbeek ....all of them salivating at these new techniques and no doubt about to use them in other exciting ways and unlocking further potential. But why am I trying to convince you, you know how they work already!
Of course, at break times I got to walk the show a little. Not a lot but a little. And I barely took my camera because I didn't want to be a slave to it. I visited my most favourite stands including tattered angels (yum)
with Rachel of tattered angels
and Nat Kalbach (my new fave German!), Wendy Senger and Heidi Swapp all waving the flag for misty, mica mists. I went to see Basic Grey with Kelly (my sweet Kelly) and Studio Calico to meet up with my old teamies as well as April, Greg and baby Claire - possibly the most beautiful little baby girl in the world.......next to Ellie, of course. Whilst walking the floor, I handed out sample pens to many designers to trial but was most surprised to see Stampavie, at their beautiful stall, using every colour of Promarker already. Encouraging!
I loved Graphic 45, 7 gypsies and Unity and was most shocked to see October Afternoon ;) Hero Arts. Tsukineieko, magenta and hampton arts stole my heart as well a Margie Romney-Aslett's stall and Ranger, to briefly visit Dyan. Imaginisce have a ton of delish new things - I loved this on their stand:
I took pics at the DCWV stand which was heaving with stunning dress forms with clothing made from paper. In fact dress forms ruled the shows base designs.
Jolees Boutique's packaging is to die for - I think the needed the updated look to survive this often packaging snobby industry. Cameos are a HUGE trend this season and can be found at Jenni Bowlin and Hambly too.
Loved this on the Jolees stand. And in addition to Cameos, Canvas is also a huge trend on many of the stands I visited.
Sizzix had this incredible display that made me spill my coffee from the shock and awe.
Primas stand was gorgeous as ever but I got told off for taking pictures - meh, pooey. I got this, though ;)
I missed seeing American Crafts and sweet Rhonna Farrer (who I adore) but I did take a picture of one of the Pink Paislee/House of Three collab:
Ephiphany Crafts stand was gorgeous
And Melissa Frances didn't disappoint, either.
Maya Road was just across from our stand and I was slurping over these goodies - see, all canvas!
I did visit countless other stands but you know.....I was working, so photos are lacking of those ones!
And then after each day (of being on my feet for 8 hours solid), it was time to play and sample LA's finest. Oh man, the carb free diet went right out the window after day two. On day 1 I did have a caesar salad (fit for 45 people, as you know - the portions in the US are ENORMOUS) without the dressing. However, some Pinot Grigio did fall in my mouth and the odd bottle of Corona so I knew that I was pummeling my diet into the ground. **le sigh** I then went hell for leather with yummy food ranging from proper mexican food (not Taco Bell!) to the Cheesecake Factory with Maz, Rick, Simon and Amanda (poss the most fun night ever - I laughed so hard I thought I was going to die from it). The gang suprised me by telling the Staff that it was my birthday and I got this yummy delight - thanks guys xx
and then on to The Pantry for another night - a retro diner that has been open 24 hours a day for almost 7o years. Those potatoes really were that grey (puke!) The rest was lovely !
I ate out with Simon, my Letraset colleague, most nights and the poor fella has possibly been bored rigid with everything crafty that I involved him in. Plus I reeled fact after fact after fact to him that I think google might take a battering as a result, cos I dont think he even believed half of them. What can I say, I like facts. FACT. Oh talking of facts, I proved to Simon that I could shove 14 pringles in my mouth without choking to prove my amzingness but ih no he went one better with 15! Im practising a 16 pringle stack for the bext dry snack-off becuase I will not be beaten. Have you got a dry snack trick you might want to share?
I was also introduced to yoghurt land, possibly my most fave eatery in the world ever with fat free, gazillion flavoured yoghurts on top and not forgetting the gazillion toppings you can add. Current fave yog flavour is Red Velvet - hello?! The sooner the UK introduces this style of eatery, the better. I went along with my funny facebook friend, Heather Fuentes (Metrochic on forums) and along with her came Anam (who I have not seen for years and is now sporting a Canadian accent - loved it!) plus some girls from Craft Critique including Kelsey who I immediately got along with; her sense of humour rocks (and so do her re-puposed and hand made yummies). We had been in a proper american bar which, considering I have been to the states over ten times, was a first. Loved it.....great laughs.
Im sure im missing out more stuff that happened but I can always fill you in on those another time. Perhaps tomorrow, no?
PS: Colin Firth was on my plane on the way over (I now know he was there to pick up Best Actor for Kings Speech from the Screen Actors Guild). I stood behind him at Home Security. He is soooooooooo tall, with slightly chemically peeled looking skin and best of all he looked at me (prob thinking "jesus, you hair is soooooo red, little dwarfy girl). I tried edging nearer and nearer to him to get a sniff of him and he did smell a bit lush, even after a 12 hour flight). I do not think this behaviour is wrong - you would do it too!
PPS: I made it through to Britains Best Dish for the North West, being whittled down from hundreds to just 30. Filming starts in March and Im a nervous wreck. If you have ever watched the program, you will note that there are an awful lot of competitive amateur chefs who make uber foie gras this and fancy foofala that, in jenga styled presentations with a splash of gold leaf decor. I'm none of those things. I'm just a girl who likes to make wholesome, simple dishes - the ones that 1940's Britain survived on... the stuff that sticks to your ribs. You know, I don't profess to be amazing in the kitchen but when I do get to have a little experiment, I experiment in a way that will please my family. They like my dish, it creates sighs and oooohs and yums. My dish is a pud - a hearty, filling dish with no bells or whistle but as the saying goes "The proof of the pud is in the taste". I like to think that the producers who put me through my audition, a few weeks back, might agree too.
PPS: Any US readers who want to locate Letraset can either go to the US distributor here. UK readers? You can buy your Promarkers from most leading craft outlets in the UK.
PPPS: The winner of the 36 Letraset markers goes to BUMBLEBEE! Hooray!