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CHA Winter 2012 :: Making Memories

CHA Winter 2012 :: Making Memories
CHA Winter 2012 :: Making Memories
Forgive me if I was curious about Making Memories. Curious in a ‘so what is the game plan?’ kind of way. See, Making Memories has been a big industry player for a long time. They grew from a small store to a big chain of stores and a big percentage of the wholesale market as a manufacturer. And they were always very specialised in scrapbooking, hence the name of the company. The Slice portable cutting system seemed a big success. Then two years ago they debuted a jewelry line as a big part of their booth space, and buyers started to question – right there on the floor – if they were supposed to buy this for their scrapbook stores or whether it was for stores who specialised in that sort of thing. A year ago, they launched a line of paper rosettes and fancy prize ribbons, and again scrapbook store owners were a little confused about how this would sell in their shops when it seemed more in line with gift wrap. And then at the summer 2011 show? They just weren’t there at all.

But here they were, with a big booth on the show floor at CHA Winter 2012. The Slice was still a big item in the floor space, but there were new paper lines too. Paper lines that were definitely scrapbooking supplies. Though slightly different to things we have seen before. Let’s start with Children at Play.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Making Memories
Rather than their in-house designers, this is a licensed collection with art from Sarah Jane Studios designed to fit the standard line-up of Making Memories products: 12×12 and 6×6 papers, letter stickers, tapes, layered stickers and die-cut shapes.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Making Memories
The paper dolls are an interesting choice. Not at all like the paper dolls that were all over the scrapbooking industry circa 2002 and more like the classic paper dolls that came in a punch-out or cut-out book from childhood. Those of you with little ones: something you would add to scrapbook pages or cards? (And if you are a paper doll fan, have you grabbed a copy of the Black Apple Paper Doll Primer – because that is enough to make me think maybe I do need paper dolls in my life after all. But anyway, back to Making Memories.)

CHA Winter 2012 :: Making Memories
CHA Winter 2012 :: Making Memories
CHA Winter 2012 :: Making Memories
Lots and lots of pink in the girlish side of the collection of course. The album is especially sweet.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Making Memories
And everything also available in blue, with wagons and kites for a soft take on boy-themed scrapbooking. I’m wondering if the nostalgic design of these papers and embellishments make you think of scrapping current photos or older images? For anyone with a stack of mid-century black and white snapshots, this could be the most perfect collection ever – but most of us would have far more current pictures than those older treasures.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Making Memories
But it wasn’t all childhood nostalgia — how about Modern Millinery? A brighter collection with crisp black accents and inspiration from the world of textiles, florals and fascinators.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Making Memories
CHA Winter 2012 :: Making Memories
This reminds me more of the Making Memories collections from their most popular days, but with a touch more drama. Remember Noteworthy? I can see those same florals and mix of pinks, purples and turquoises here, and that was a collection I really loved.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Making Memories
Plenty of textile elements in this collection, plus those classic tiny letters are back at the bottom of a sheet that now includes words and phrases too.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Making Memories
So many lush flowers – but will you put them in an album or on something you can wear or gift? I think this might be a safer move – those last few collections make it seem that Making Memories wants to get into other markets, but this collection could get that cross-over while still being relevant to papercrafters. Perhaps a bit more useful to the bottom line.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Making Memories lace papers
And saving the best for last, this was my favourite thing from the Making Memories release: 12×12 lace papers that include a layer of lace, tulle or netting stitched to a cardstock background. I can’t see they would be very useful in pieces, because it would probably be cheaper to buy just the fabric if you wanted to use it in smaller sizes, but as a 12×12 background it gives a new look to the base layer of a page with a lovely texture. Looking forward to giving this one a try!

Opinions then: is Making Memories back on form? Are you excited to see them back on the market?

Since it has been a while since Making Memories has released a new collection, there isn’t a lot of MM in stores now, but you can find a few big bargains here should you want to grab a bit of classic MM before it disappears.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper

CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
Crate Paper is up next, and their first collection has a name that certainly got my attention! I do love a Pretty Party, especially when it’s made from paper!

Since the last show, Crate Paper has been acquired by American Crafts – but the company has remained intact with its own product designers and its own design team and so forth, so there’s not any big difference to the experience you’ll have shopping for Crate and using their products. The differences are on the manufacturing and fulfillment side, and that shop owners can now order from Crate, American Crafts, Pebbles and Studio Calico all at once – which could mean some smaller shops will do what’s known as ‘cherry picking’ and choose just bits and pieces from all those companies rather than picking up full collections. But expect larger stores to still carry the full inventory. Right – that’s enough business talk – let’s look at pretty papers, shall we?

CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
Lots of lush 12×12 Pretty Party papers. I love that they have gone with patterns that are easy to use. I love looking at Crate’s collections but sometimes I find them a bit of a challenge once they are on my table – only sometimes. This isn’t one of those times. Bring on the Crate goodness, I say!

CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
Pretties from the Crate design team – Rahel Menig on the left and Jaime Warren on the right, I do believe. (My apologies if I’m wrong!)

CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
Embellishments include layered stickers (that have gems and buttons in the designs), brad assortments with fabric and epoxies and photo frames in interesting materials. More on that in a minute.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
Beautiful layers from Christine Middlecamp.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
I wish they made this as something we could buy! Sadly no, it’s just part of the display. But what a pretty find and it displays the buttons so well I would be happy to hang it on my wall just like that. I wouldn’t mind if we saw this in reproduction form at the next show, would you?

CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
So many lovely layered cards – sorry I can’t identify the crafters here, but all from the Crate design team.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
Crate’s second collection is darker in colours and called Story Teller. It has themes that fit general family life, with a vintage twist, and again a collection that will be easy to move from stash to completed pages. (In general, I think we saw a lot more of this at this show: a focus on papers and embellishments that will make great pages rather than the papers that are so ornately designed we don’t know where to start and they end up languishing in our stash because they are too special or too complicated. More crafting than collecting, which is good in my book. My lacking-in-storage-space book.)

CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
Again, layered stickers and a mix of brads, plus wooden bingo chips for all your numbering needs.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
Though they didn’t have samples just yet, Crate added printed washi tapes to their collections, and that blue floral design definitely has my attention. Heading to the right, buttons, printed clothes pegs and 6×6 patterned paper sets.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
The 12×12 chipboard sheet gives the best feel for all the motifs in this collection. Lots of cameras and flowers plus typewriters, bicycles and luggage. I love that they added a date stamp as a chipboard piece – although many of us use a date stamp in our work, seeing the image of one was something a little new and I like the library feel it adds to Story Teller. (By the way, that’s the second time I spotted protractors at this show – JBS also had it as a stamp design. Geometry is the new cupcake?)

CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
Paper designs include maps, florals and stripes, with a primary colour base that has been distressed just enough that it seems mature and perfectly worn.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Crate Paper
And I promised we would come back to frames! Here’s a better look at the Story Teller frames – in wood. The equivalent frame in the Pretty Party line up are in metal. Something a little different and perfect for a special page or an album cover, perhaps. These even made me think they would look lovely on a Christmas tree – but I promise it is officially WAY too early to be thinking of evergreens and baubles. Definitely.

Both collections ship to stores in February, so look for them to start appearing very soon.

Click here to shop for Crate Paper products. (By the way, they have a current collection that is vaguely Valentiney but would work for many topics, and it’s worth checking out before it disappears to make way for these two collections.)

CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye

CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
My Mind’s Eye always has a beautiful new release and although I’m glad they grew up and away from their cartoon-styled beginnings with Frame-Ups, I’m so happy they have stayed true to their idea of offering die-cuts and frames to match their paper collections. Those little extras always make their lines stand out for me, and what made me extra happy was Follow Your Heart – a new line by Rhonna Farrer. I’ve long loved Rhonna style as a designer and since then I’ve come to know Rhonna as a person and she inspires me at every turn. So do I want to scrap with all her new papers? Of course! And it doesn’t hurt that they are so very pretty, of course.

CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
Follow your Heart comes in two parts – one line has more pinks and the other has more blues, but neither line really screams boy or girl. It’s merely a shift in the focus colours, and the two lines could be used together or separately. They both have plenty of lovely details, like brads, twine, gems, buttons and clips to coordinate with the papers, stickers and chipboard.

CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
The chipboard accents come as full 12×12 sheets, packed with a variety of embellishments. This shows the two colour schemes side by side – the blue on the left is the ‘Be Amazing’ collection and the pink option on the right is ‘Be Happy’ – but I don’t think there is a definite masculine/feminine divide here, so just pick whatever you like!

CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
‘Enjoy the journey’ is something you’ll see throughout Rhonna’s work, and I love how she pairs it with symbolic motifs – bicycles, butterflies, balloons. Plus that means you can mix and match these elements with paper collections from other manufacturers that include those themes in the design.

CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
And clear stamps! I still have some of Rhonna’s earliest stamp sets from way back when, because her swirls, stars and hearts are so versatile they never go out of style. These sets have a mix of classic and right on trend – perfect for something that will last.

CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
Be Amazing has that teal and yellow that I loved at LilyBee – can’t wait to use these two lines together.

CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
Hexagon patterns and pretty layers on the 12×12 papers. Rhonna put similar layers on her papers for the House of 3 lines at Pink Paislee a while back and I cut them out to move over the page and layer over the photos – and I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what I’ll do with this. Looking forward to it!

CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
Then there are other collections at My Mind’s Eye – like Miss Caroline, by artist Jen Allyson. Let me just point out one thing as we start so you can get an idea of why I may have already ordered almost everything in this collection. See that stamp set? Why yes, that IS woodgrain bunting. Miss Caroline is a collection that takes a few very lovely things that are already popular in papercraft and gives them a remix to make them work together. Bunting + woodgrain = woodgrain bunting. There’s more of that to come.

CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
Loving these banner die-cuts with a stack of words in the middle, subway-art style, plus woodgrain trim and a bunting flag shape. It comes in a couple different options with different words and colours.

CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
There are doilies on both die-cuts and stickers. Great for layering or titles.

CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
I think this is a new step for My Mind’s Eye – a cut-apart sheet with boxes for writing and other embellishments. I use a lot of sheets like this from Jenni Bowlin Studio and Cosmo Cricket, but I don’t think MME have had them in the line-up before. This works out more affordable than lots of separate die-cuts if you have to make a choice.

CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
More teal and yellow popping up here. With woodgrain, of course.

CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
There are also florals in each colour scheme, so you could take this ultra-feminine by picking and choosing which pieces of paper you like.

CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
Wooden. Butterflies. Yep: already ordered them!

CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
The embellishments include layered stickers and adhesive pearl designs.

CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
The ultimate statement paper for butterfly fans!

CHA Winter 2012 :: My Mind's Eye and Rhonna Farrer
And butterfly stamps in both woodgrain and polka dots. An entire line of taking things many of us love and putting them together. And the best bit?

All of the My Mind’s Eye release is already available to buy! I actually ordered yesterday. Click here to order My Mind’s Eye products, including Miss Caroline and Rhonna’s Follow your Heart collections. There’s even a special: orders with $25 or more in MME product receive a special gift. (No code or anything – it’s automatically added when you hit the $25 point. And as I only ordered yesterday I have no idea what the gift may be.)

CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade

CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
Clever Handmade was something I was so excited to see. It’s a new company from artist Heidi Grace Kress, who you might not know at all if you’re relatively new to the scrapbook world. Here’s the very abridged version of Heidi’s product history: she started by producing her own product. It was so lovely it was acquired by Fiskars. Except then Fiskars decided they didn’t want to be in the paper business any more and focus on tools. The Heidi Grace brand moved to Colorbok. That didn’t work out either. And the wording of all those deals meant Heidi couldn’t use her own name in future branding… even though it is her name. Oh, the legalities of things.

But now she is back. With her full name. And a new company name that doesn’t mention her at all, but is so very her. And that is Clever Handmade.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
Now, you need to keep in mind that Heidi’s style is very cute, and I understand that cute is not everyone’s thing when it comes to scrapbooking. But stay with me for a moment, because there may still be something valuable for you here. And of course, you might be all about cute!

CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
Cute like spaceships and ray guns.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
Cute like paper photo props! Yes: you punch these out of a 12×12 sheet and instead of putting them on a page, you use them as props in a photograph. In a DIY photo booth or just in a fun little photoshoot. They look so sweet in photos – cute with kids, quirky fun with adults. They come in several designs and were something completely different than any other company.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
Cute like polka dotted letter stickers.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
Cute like dogs in space helmets.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
And more photo props – including some for captions. You can either write on the prop itself or leave it blank then write on the photo with your pen or in Photoshop. Clever.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
Space themes aren’t the only collection. There are also mermaids and sea creatures in the mix, with pretty turquoise hues.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
And cakes and clouds and balloons with an orange shade that makes me want a creamsicle. We don’t even have creamsicles in England. Sad times.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
Here’s what I mean by you can love this company even if you don’t scrap ‘cute’. Check out these gorgeous mini patterns. No doodles, no mix of colour, just really versatile chevrons and grids that are timeless. (Did I just say chevrons are timeless? Maybe it’s wrong to label a trend as timeless. But before this current trend we called them ‘zig-zags’ and that is generally an accepted element over the ages, so I’m going to go with timeless.)

CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
So now look at the cute patterns and check out those squares in the corner that show the b-sides of the papers. Every single cute pattern has a non-doodled background with an extremely versatile b-side. Things like ledger and notebook paper, plaids, stripes and polka-dots. The sorts of papers you can use right to the very last square inch. I value that so much in a patterned paper.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
And the embellishments are themed by colour rather than by illustration, so things like labels and letters are joined by feathers and sequins and border stickers that will look great with these collections but will also be so easy to mix and match with the products you already have.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
Then we get to one of my favourite things of the entire show.
Say it with me: Rub-on. Embroidery. Patterns.

This is such a simple innovation that it is perfection. Say you have this layout almost complete but you think it needs a little something. Maybe some stitching would be great. But your layout is pretty much finished: are you brave enough to start poking holes in the page without being able to tell if you’ll get the shape just right?

I know there is a wheel-type tool for this but I’ve bought two of those things and I couldn’t get either one to do anything other than drive me to frustration. I wanted to love that. I didn’t. But this? THIS I LOVE.

Take your almost-finished layout. And something that looks like this:
CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
Cut out the rub-on and apply it to your page. You can see exactly where it’s going to go before you apply the design. It’s easy to control and it’s complicated like a wheel. And there are dozens of lovely images to choose, including doodle motifs but also borders and an alphabet. Use a paper piercer or a needle to punch holes that follow the dotted lines of the pattern. Stitch through that. Presto: your completely finished layout with beautifully stitched details and no frustration.

Seriously, why didn’t someone think of this before? But I am so happy Heidi thought of it now. I love it.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
By the way, if that makes you really want to stitch more, she has also made these iron-on sewing patterns. For stuffed creatures and ornaments rather than scrapbooking, but still fun. Iron onto the fabric of your choice, cut out and sew along the lines. Easy enough for kids to do, so perfect if you want to scrap while your little ones craft with you.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Clever Handmade by Heidi Grace Kress
Clever Handmade will be shipping to stores very soon. In the mean time, go welcome Heidi back to the scrapbook world by checking out the Clever Handmade blog.

CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey

CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
After staying home from the summer show, I was intrigued to see what BasicGrey would bring on their return to the show floor. And I’ll just say they brought the good stuff. Four lines releasing this spring – look for two in stores in February and the other two in April – and I’ll warn you from the beginning: these collections are about looking past the obvious and seeing the amazing.

CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
First up is PB&J, which I would say is the most traditional of the four collections. Lots of red and blue and summer colours and motifs. Bunting, bicycles and chevron – all popular and versatile. Of course there are plenty of papers and a range of embellishments. Take a look:
CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
Love those big patterned letters!

CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
Then we have something softer: Plumeria. BasicGrey is one of a very few companies that make purple tones work, and I think it’s because their papers give you the option of using lots or a little of purple while still having the feel of the collection.

CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
Those detailed rosettes are an extra-pretty twist on the pinwheel trend.

CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
These gorgeous blossoms are BIG and come in a few colours. But I don’t know where they would be prettier than here on a book!

CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
Plenty of smaller (but still significant) flowers in this collection too.

CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
I love this layout – and it shows that it-doesn’t-have-to-be-really-purple idea too. (But also the booth was busy so forgive the crazy angle to this picture!)

CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
Konnichiwa will hit stores very soon with this burst of happy pink. It does have Japanese-themed motifs, but not a single example project included photos from or about Japan in any way, going to show you have to look past the obvious and onto the creative potential. I love this line.

CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
As someone who gets so excited when the cherry blossom trees are in bloom, the pink floral pieces in this line make me very happy. They don’t have to be about Japan – but they do feel very much about spring to me. And delicate prettiness. But all approached in a way that isn’t overly dramatic, serious florals. This is light-hearted and energetic and doesn’t feel old (but isn’t too cartoony either).

CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
Gorgeous page from the BasicGrey team.

CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
And the final April release – What’s Up! Again, look past that gut instinct of What do I scrapbook with hot air balloons from the 1937 World’s Fair? and onto the good stuff: How can I use clouds and balloons as a metaphor for good things, flying hight and happy times?

CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
I thought these two layouts were interesting because without them I hadn’t really noticed the infusion of red in this collection. But it’s definitely there!

CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
I think this line is going to mix and match beautifully with the new line from Rhonna Farrer for My Mind’s Eye – I’ll show that to you soon!

CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
CHA Winter 2012 :: BasicGrey
Maybe this is an odd-ball call, but I think I will use every little bit of the What’s Up collection pack. It’s a good mix of less quirky, easy-to-use patterns with some bold statement prints thrown in to keep crafters courageous. Sounds like BasicGrey are totally in the game.

Click here to shop for BasicGrey products.

If you are attending the show, find BasicGrey at booth 1757.



Tonight I’ll be doing a one hour live chat to wrap up the show (though I still have plenty to post here with pictures!) at 7pm CST/5pm PST. When it’s live, I’ll post a link on Twitter and Facebook. Or just head to the CHA board at Two Peas if that’s easier.

And now – back to the show for the final day!

CHA Winter 2012 :: Smash Books

CHA Winter 2012 :: Smash Books
CHA Winter 2012 :: Smash Books
Since writing this post about Smash books about seven months ago, the conversation has never really ended. You can read the comments there and see people continuing to talk about this product right up to this week and that’s not a usual thing. (It’s extra nice that everyone is actually talking about Smash books and not about knock-off handbags, imitation gemstones or prescription pharmaceuticals.) So I figured even though it’s a small collection, the new additions to the Smash line-up deserved their own post.

Also since that other post, I have acquired an actual Smash book (in addition to giving one as a birthday gift to a non-scrapper, which I still think is the duty of any scrapbooker with a non-scrapping friend who you could imagine coming over to the crafty side) and my general feedback is that I love the designs of the papers and the feel of the book, but it doesn’t work for me in the way I would like because it is just too darned big. If I’m going to smash, I want to smash on the go – so my Smash book needs to fit in my handbag. It won’t. (By the way, with a little influence from Wilna, I have started treating my Smash book more like a tablet of patterned paper and ripping out papers to use on more traditional 12×12 pages. And I love it. But anyway, the important thing is I felt it was way too big.)

CHA Winter 2012 :: Smash Books
So what did they do? THEY MADE THEM BIGGER.

There are two new books that can hold up to a full 8.5×11 sheet. These definitely won’t fit in your party handbag, but they will hold all sorts of things, provided you can get back to your desk to smash them. Interesting.
CHA Winter 2012 :: Smash Books
There are two new books that can hold up to a full 8.5×11 sheet. These definitely won’t fit in your party handbag, but they will hold all sorts of things, provided you can get back to your desk to smash them. Interesting.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Smash Books
But it’s okay because hey look! Itty bitty Smash too! So yep, a larger size and a smaller size entering the line up, and also wedding and baby themes in the standard notebook.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Smash Books
And new accessories. Plenty of new tapes (seriously there is no tape shortage at this show!) and die-cuts and such, plus transparencies which I think are new to this collection? (If I’m wrong, I apologise. It happens.)

The new Smash additions are scheduled to ship to stores in March.

Click here to shop for Smash books!

If you are attending the show, find Smash books at booth 1857, as part of K & Company and the EK Success family of brands.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio

CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
Lovely, lovely things from Lily Bee Studio, including probably my favourite colour scheme of the entire show. But before I hyperventilate about that, let’s just start at one end of the booth and take it in sensibly. I’ll try to act like a grown-up. (This is exceedingly difficult around vast quantities of pretty paper, I assure you.)

CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
Just a note to start: the Lily Bee design team makes amazing pages and projects to be displayed. This is two shows in a row where my favourite layouts are found here on the LB booth.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
This first collection is called Handmade, and each collection includes those fabulous little letter sheets that go on for miles and miles of titles as well as a pack of tabbed index cards… perfect for pages, minibooks and divided page protectors.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
A look at the papers, stickers, stamps and die-cuts in the Handmade collection. Pink and red together is always something that makes me happy.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
See? I told you the Lily Bee design team totally brings it. Always.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
Next up is Double Dutch, with blues and oranges and lots of gingham b-sides.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
That stamp set at the top right includes a solid and an outline for the banner. Stamp sets like that are some of my favourites – stamp the solid in a pale colour then stamp the outline over the top in a darker colour. It doesn’t matter one bit if you get them perfectly lined up – it still looks really cool if they are off a bit. Sometimes it can even have a look similar to an old printing press.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
Buttercup!!! This is my favourite. Teal. And. Yellow. I can’t wait to scrapbook with this. So glad to see this colour scheme on the floor.

And that stamp set at the top right?

CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
ALL KINDS OF CHEVRON. Oh yes.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
Plus letters, index cards and gorgeous layouts! Buttercup is a win all-round.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
Okay, one more collection but before I show you the products, make a mental note of this project. I have so many papers with a similar design like this – frames printed all over a page, essentially. And even if I didn’t, something like this could be made with a stamp. But I never would have thought to cut out some of the frames and layer things behind the patterned paper. I love how this is just the perfect amount. I have a feeling I would have added to much. But this is just right.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
And that final collection is Victoria Park, with a mix of brights and black for a dramatic yet playful look. Can something be both dramatic and playful? I’m going with yes.

CHA Winter 2012 :: Lily Bee Studio
And the Victoria Park index cards are the most embellished. I think this could be a good set if you have a more elegant style but still want to do something like Project Life. Intriguing!

These new Lily Bee collections begin shipping to stores at the beginning of March.

Click here to shop for Lily Bee Studio products.

If you’re attending the show, find Lily Bee at booth 1690.

CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon

CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
My next stop was October Afternoon. I can’t think of a single paper collection they have released that I haven’t liked and purchased! And they have new papers, of course. Starting with the 9 to 5 collection.

CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
9 to 5 features greens and oranges, which looks a lot cuter than it sounds. Embellishments include brads, stickers, labels, tin pin badges, die cuts and chipboard as well as washi tape and new coordinating colours of Sprinklers spray inks.

CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
See that telephone photo thing? That something is very cool. It’s a new product called Chapters, and it’s essentially a set of mini book pages, all ready to make your own creation. If you liked the idea of the papers in Smash Books but wanted more freedom to make the book your own, this is exactly what you want. Each line has a great mix of images in the Chapters kit.

CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
The papers are a mix of kitsch and small repetitive patterns. I think that’s why I find October Afternoon papers so easy to use: I cut my favourite elements from the bigger designs and then use the smaller, less specific patterns for backgrounds, boxes, border strips and pretty much anything else. If you’ve never used October Afternoon products, you’ll also love the quality of their paper stock. Their designs are cream-based and the paper is sturdy and smooth.

CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
Collection two is called Cakewalk, with a happy colour scheme mixing soft shades with circus brights without relying on that elementary look of too many primary colours.

CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
Same styles of embellishments and accompanying products – but to match the celebratory feel of the Cakewalk collection.

CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
And more lovely papers!

CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
Be still my heart: so many lovely shades of Mini Market letter stickers and Sprinklers spray inks. I love these two product lines and use them on the vast majority of my projects.

CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
The third collection is called Woodland Park, which might be the most interesting of the three in that some elements break away from the recent designs – in a good way that adds breadth to the collection without making them look like they don’t belong.

CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
Blue and green abound in this collection, but there are elements of pink and yellow thrown in the mix too. Not many manufacturers do nice deep blues, so this is a welcome colour scheme in my book.

CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
CHA Winter 2012 :: October Afternoon
And the papers: here’s what I mean by something different. That cloud paper isn’t something I would expect from October Afternoon, and yet I love it. There are chevrons and butterflies, which makes me happy of course. The trees remind me of one of the early October Afternoon prints but these are a bit larger and will be easier to cut out for both layouts and cards.

These collections are scheduled to ship to stores throughout the spring.

Click here to shop for October Afternoon products.

If you are attending the show, find October Afternoon at booth 1293.