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Claudine Helmuth. Photo by Scarlet Calliope.

I was really hoping to go to the Craft and Hobby Association 2013 Winter Conference and Trade show (CHA) this year. As a major art and crafting fiend, it’s marvelous to see all of the new products that the craft and hobby manufacturers are creating before they’re available in stores. I wanted to be a part of it so much that I put an offer on my Facebook page that I would be a slave at CHA in exchange for a badge. I was willing to build a booth, promote products, do a demonstration, lead a make and take, whatever it took to get me to Anaheim so that I could be a part of the Craft and Hobby Association Conference and Trade Show.

The last time I went to CHA I did product demonstrations and before that I had experience doing everything from building the booth, meeting manufacturers for advertising in a publication, promoting product and tearing down and packing up the booth. I was really hoping that someone would hit me up and tell me that I was going and I was infinitely disappointed when I didn’t get any bites. Imagine my delight when I saw that Elena Lai Echeverry of Charity Wings posted on her Facebook page Monday morning that she needed a couple of volunteers to help out in the Charity Wings booth and was there anyone available to help? I jumped on it immediately and enthusiastically, like a girl with new glitter kind of excited, and sent her a message. I was so truly happy when she called and asked me to come up and help. You’ve never seen a girl get dressed so fast!

It was so exciting to walk through the hall and see all of the vendors new products on display. I love to see the new scrapbooking papers, stamps, embellishments, as well as new products from the sewing, quilting and embroidery companies. There is really something for every type of artist, crafter, and hobbyist, from scrapbookers to mixed-media artists, and from model builders to fiber artists.

After I got familiarized with the details on Charity Wings I got to share their mission with the CHA attendees. Charity Wings is a non profit organization that hosts and sponsors scrapbooking crops, online raffles, mixed media events and fairy fly by appearances.  From their Facebook Page, “Charity Wings is a 100% volunteer run organization whose mission is to raise money and awareness for noble causes through unique scrapbooking and crafting events and to coordinate and promote “creative” opportunities for crafters to give. We raise money for the worthy causes we support.”  These causes include “A Place to Bark” no kill shelter, Hurricane Sandy Victims, the Be Aware Foundation and many others.

I had so much fun being in the booth!  I got to see people I’ve met through the years, meet the owners of scrapbooking stores, chat with art and craft designers, and giggle with my friends who work in the art and crafting industry. People who came by the booth included Jo Packham, Jenn Mason, Suze Weinberg, Arlene Baker, Laura McCollough, and Kaari Meng. Artist Suzi Blu worked in the booth on Saturday and Sunday painting “Live” and stopped by on Monday to drop off her finished work of mixed-media art.

During my lunch break I ran from booth to booth quickly snapping pics of some of my favorite new products. Among my best loved companies is Graphic 45. I always love their unique and amazing designs! I also stopped by to see Claudine Hellmuth doing a demonstration in the Ranger booth. Another of my favorite lines of products is from Tim Holtz for Ranger, I can’t get enough of the Steampunk/Cabinet of Curiosities theme! One of the highlights was meeting designer Elaine Hull for the first time. We’ve been friends on Facebook for a little bit and it’s always fun to meet people in person after you’ve had a conversation online!

Here are some of the snapshots I took. I’ll be posting more photos that I took on my second day of CHA so come back to check those out. I’m also going to be posting pics and talking about my experience at an event I went to over the weekend. The Art of Craft is held at one of the most special places on earth, French General, in Los Angeles. Kaari Meng is an incredible event organizer and I met some really talented and genuinely nice women. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

In the meantime, enjoy these pics that I took at CHA.