I Love to Create: Live from CHA Summer!

Greetings from sunny Orlando, Florida! I’m writing to you from our hotel room; staring out at the lovely palm trees and pool below. Dave, Clover and I arrived safely yesterday and have been partaking in CHA-ness ever since.

The view from our room

The Crafts & Hobbies Association’s Summer trade show is much smaller than the one in the winter. It seems as if there are about 1/4 of the vendors here as the one I attended last January in Anaheim, giving the convention a much more intimate feel.

Last night I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel with painting veteran Donna Dewberry, TV icon Carol Duvall, and fellow I Love to Create-er Kathy-Cano-Murrillo. It was so much fun! We got into an impassioned discussion about future craft trends, current economic challenges and the great debate between the value of “in-person”, shop-based craft groups vs. the newer, thriving internet community. I really appreciated that we could all have very different opinions and present them respectfully, while genuinely enjoying each other’s company. All of the women on the panel (as well as moderator Terry O.) are very impressive, interesting ladies who I felt honored to be amongst.

Kathy, Carol & Donna backstage, waiting for the panel to start. We missed our cue to go on stage because we were all gabbing so much. Oops!

After the session was over, Carol & I slipped away for a drink. We chatted family, business and I just basically soaked up as much of her wisdom as possible. With 58 years of industry experience under her belt, she’s still as quick, witty and sharp as ever…not to mention she can order one heckuva martini. I totally wanna be her when I grow up! It was a lovely way to end an exciting day.
Carol & I back stage at CHA

Today I hit the convention floor–armed with gold Steve Maddens and Clover’s Metro Wrap, dyed with Tulip Permanent Fabric Dye and painted using my Craft Corps Stencil Kit.
Me & Clo, ready to spread the Craft Corps gospel!
Dave came along too, loaded up with diaper bag and stencil kit giveaways

The three of us (me, Dave & Clover) walked the floor, saying hi to a few friends and meeting a few new ones. Lion Brand has some nice, new eco- yarns (stay tuned for future reviews) and Provo Crafts has a couple of really exciting new products including the Yudu screen printer and the Gypsy, a handheld electronic designing device. I’m looking forward to playing around them in future months!

My favorite stop though, was at the always beglittered, I Love to Create (formerly Duncan Crafts) booth. I may be slightly biased, but seeing all of their new products always makes me smile. Kathy was there, showing off her Crafty Chica line; my pal Traci Bautista was playing with these really cool, pump spray paints; and fellow CRAFTED co-host Patti Donham decoupaged jewelry. It was good times!
At the I Love to Create booth with Alyson Dias & Crafty Chica

I may try and stop by again tomorrow to get my hands dirty but today, with baby girl attached, was just about soaking up all of the crafty goodness!

If you’d like more, up to the minute scoop on what’s-a-happenin’ at CHA, follow @vickiehowell and @ilovetocreate on Twitter. Oh, and while you’re in the Twittersphere, you can also do a search for #CHASummer for even more updates!
Until next time…Craft.Rock.Love.