I used to go to CHA and load up on new product photos – now it is more about the people I meet, the companies I connect with, and what I LEARN. I think Julie Fei-Fan Balzer did an excellent synopsis of the show and the trends in her blog post yesterday. Or, if you want really in-depth looks at products, check out my friends at Craft Test Dummy, where you can watch videos of individual designers, booths, and more!

Now, back to my adventure in people + learning + connecting.


Day 1 of CHA is always “Education Day”. I think this is one of the best things about CHA – yes, we want to see new product BUT Education Day is when we get to learn new business techniques and strategies, take Workshops to learn about (and see) the new products, and best of all NETWORK! You never know who you will be sitting next to in a class or workshop and then BAM – big things happen for you and your career, you meet someone you've always admired, or just get to share in crafty goodness with another creative person.


This little crafty dude tagged along as did Katie!!! He was probably the youngest actual crafter at the show, if you don't count the babies :)


What a hambone! He could only last about half the day before he got overloaded and needed to take a break But he was a good sport!


Katie's gone to the show before but this time, she got to work alot more closely with our good friend Marisa — I'll share more about that later!!

Katie at CHA Mega Show 2014 Jan 11-wm

I taught my first Seminars for CHA – I've taught Workshops before, but for this show, I was all about the business side of things. It was oh so rewarding to be able to share some of my knowledge and lessons I've learned with others just as those before me shared their wisdom with me. The highlight of the show was a fabulous woman from Belgium who came up to me a day or so after this Seminar and said that it was the highlight of her trip. WOW.


On Friday, Education Day, I led a seminar on how to get “Multiple Streams of Income from One Project”. Yes, I shared my inner secrets!!! It was so rewarding and fun and exhilirating. I kinda like this teaching thing :)

Then on Sunday I led a Hands-On Lab where we practiced using social media while creating a mixed media canvas project. This was so much fun!! You can find Vine videos, Instagrams, and Facebook and twitter posts from the attendees, including reps from Walnut Hollow and Beverly Fabrics Stores! That was rad!!!!!! On a side note, I loved how everyone in the class did something different from my sample. Halleluah!


Isn't that awesome — everyone here is using social media to share their progress AS THEY WORK in real-time, with their followers!!!

Sometimes you just need a little one-on-one tutorial — I love that we were able to do this in my class!!!! Vine was acting wonky for some of us. Sometimes that means you just gotta restart your phone/device or reinstall the app. We made it work!


I don't know what I was doing in this photo – I think showing how to spray something….LOL


P.S. I cannot share the sample as it has been picked up for publication from the show *happy dance*!


This class panel, all about teaching online, was one of my favorite things! First, it was an incredible honor to have these talented artists and instructors agree to participate on the panel and share their expert business knowledge with the attendees. THEN, seats to attend our panel SOLD OUT  four weeks before the show! It was so awesome to hear everyone tell us that they learned so much – that is what we always want to hear!! Together, we make this industry better :)


A huge thank you to Jamie Dougherty, Kathy Cano-Murillo, Traci Bautista, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, and Joe Rotella for being panelists and making my job as the moderator so dang easy!!! They all teach AMAZING classes online so click their names in the previous sentence to get to any of their websites and check out their class offerings.


All of these people showed up to our super early class panel!!!


Now for the show floor!! First stop, my friends at ilovetocreate!! They had a great booth with fashion displays, like these that Katie captured:

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One of the highlights of this CHA trip was meeting Rupert Boneham of Survivor fame – a very cool dude!! I was super excited when ilovetocreate announced that Rupert was their new tie-dye spokesperson. Real people doing real crafts for the love of craft – that is Rupert.


Matthew got a special tie-dye lesson with Rupert – it was alot of fun. You could tell that he loves crafting with his kids and family!



Everyone who came by the booth got personalized signed postcards from Rupert as well — guess where that is going? In my scrapbook!!!


6 year-old little Matthew got to check out the show and see what things he would like to use on his Saturday Morning Crafts YouTube show with me for the next year. It was really cool to see things from a kid's perspective. Check out the show here, Saturday mornings at 9am Pacific.

There was an awesome maker space set up by the fabulous Sarah Hodsdon and various sponsors – here is a floor she DREW?! … with Bic Markers, of course!

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Then, in the makerspace were demos all day long, every day of the show. Here is Katie and Marisa Pawelko demoing Marisa's new Sizzix dies with Rowlux Illusion film. Katie had such a blast!!



We just love Marisa and all that she does :) Besides all that color and talent and beauty, she is a phenomenal business woman!!


We got challenged to do a Design Remix challenge with Thrift Shop clothes in the Westcott booth!! This was nuts and fun and kind of a big deal!!! We had to turn Marisa's stash of thrift store clothes into a wearable OUTFIT in about 30 minutes. Um, yeah, it was a challenge!!


I crack up at all these people who are amazed that I can sew. Hey, just because I plan with paper doesn't mean I can't sew! My grandma taught me and I am teaching Katie…


Katie said “hot pants” and so they were born…


Matthew had to be kept entertained somehow…


Once our creations were complete, we had to share about them…I probably won't be wearing this any time soon… LOL



You never know, we could have started a new trend. Instead of the word “Pink” on the butts of pants, we wrote “swag”. It could catch on. Thank me when it does. Wait, maybe I DON'T want this claim to fame! Ha!


The Sizzix booth was friend overload!! The booth is always big and hopping and filled with amazing projects but on top of all of that, our friend Marisa Pawelko was sharing her BRAND NEW (ship in May) die collection that was being demoed by our pals Tanner Bell and Courtney Chambers of A Little Craft In Your Day and CraftTeen!!

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I can't wait to get my hands on these dies – Katie loves them too!! Hey, is that Sara Naumann in the background? Like I said, CHA = friendfest!


One of my first stops was to the Brother Crafter booth. We wanted to say hello to our friend Liz Hicks but we also wanted to see the Brother Scan-N-Cut machine in action. Shhh, don't tell my Silhouette Cameo but I am kinda in love with the Scan-N-Cut!!!!


Matthew drew his name with a Sharpie marker, we made the lines a little bolder with the marker, then scanned it with the Scan-N-Cut, and cut his OWN HANDWRITING out of vinyl that he then put on his name badge!! Amazing. Amazing!!

And Liz's awesome tip to use dollar store contact paper instead of *expensive* transfer tapes is pure genius.


One of Matthew's favorite booths was Smoothfoam. First, “mama Smoothfoam” took Matt under her expert crafty tutelage and had him coloring and creating and glittering! He had a blast. I had no idea you could color on Smoothfoam with crayons!!!


I love how he is so intense with this glue bottle!

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Hey, that's our friend April!! That's what is so great about CHA — seeing people we love :)


Fo the rest of the show, Matthew was trying to talk the Smoothfoam crewinto letting him have all of these cool foam shapes…and finally, they gave in!


And because you can never have enough Smoothfoam… pics from a demo I did later in the show:


These are 12×12 Smoothfoam panels that I painted and then altered with ink and Craft Attitude printable film to make into home decor pieces. I used the heat gun to melt the foam and add a little texture.


It was cool to have a little chat with mixed media artist Traci Bautista – love her!


And while I demoed, the kids did make n takes. Check out the Smoothfoam blog this week for details on this make n take and the others we taught at the show.



 We saw oh so much over the 5 ys of CHA and 4 days of show floor access… I canot show you all of it as this post is already impossibly long….. but. here are a few more snapshots of memorable moments:


ICE Resin team dinner — good food, good friends, good fun! I love these ladies!!!! Cindy photo bombed our pic — hahaha!!!


So Cal friends Jenn Mena and Becky Hernandez, who organize a local crop – so good to see them!!!!!

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With our pals from ICE Resin — we love Susan Lenart Kazmer!

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ilovetocreate threw an awesome party for everyone!!! Katie got a makeover and head shots done at the party — this company is so easy to love :)

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And finally, one of the biggest highlights of the show, meeting our friends Aaron and Jenny from Everyday is a Holiday!!

I hope you enjoyed looking through our pics during this CHA recap. Now, that' a wrap! Will I post a second recap? Let me know if you got enough of CHA or if you want more!!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Author: Jennifer Priest

It started with jewelry, beading, sewing, home decor, painting, basket weaving, pottery, and cross-stitch. Marry that to an entrepreneurial spirit & at 9 years old a girl is selling her wares at craft fairs as far as her parents and grandparents would drive her. These days, Jennifer enjoys crafts of all genres from sewing to scrapbooking to jewelry with a little dabbling in the mixed media world. Her style is approachable and she wants everyone who sees her work to feel that they too can embrace creativity and make their home and life beautiful.

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7 thoughts on “CHA Recap #1 (and probably the only one…)

  1. Was wonderful to see you at the show! Thank you for your coverage of many things I missed while working!

    Posted on January 19, 2014 at 1:14 am
  2. I loved seeing CHA from your perspective. Teaching is so rewarding. after doing it for 16 years, I still get a kick out of “seeing the light go on” when what you teach hits the mark. Thanks also for sharing your son’s time there too. It sure looks like I need to get myself there by hook or by crook in the years to come. I will start saving now.

    Posted on January 19, 2014 at 3:49 am
  3. What a wonderful time you had at CHA. Love your cute children! This is one of the few CHA articles I have read from beginning to end with anticipation for the next step. I feel like I was with you :) You will have a wonderful memories for your scrapbook. Thanks truly for sharing!

    Posted on January 19, 2014 at 5:38 am
  4. Ditto Belinda and Joanne-loved it. I was really suffering form CHA/product overload. this was fun to read and see. The joy on your kid’s faces is what crafting is suppose to be about.Thanks for reminding me it should be fun!

    Posted on January 20, 2014 at 12:47 am
  5. So proud of you . . . Watching you grow, share and educate others! Was a blessing seeing you right off the bat the only day I was able to go.

    Posted on January 24, 2014 at 6:52 am
  6. Wow! I need to get out of the booth more! LOL So fun to walk the show virtually and vicariously through your families eyes! Thanks so much for the very kind Sizzix shout outs and for participating in our Rags to Riches Contest at the Westcott Brand Booth! You guys did awesome! xoxoxox

    Posted on February 4, 2014 at 9:50 pm