From where I'm sitting right now I can see that the snow is still coming down at a pretty consistent rate here in Jersey. They said it's falling at about an inch per hour and that seems about right. Aaron was outside shoveling off the deck about an hour and a half ago, and it looks like the area that he shoveled is all covered up again with almost two inches. He has to shovel throughout the day because we have chihuahuas that need to do their outdoor business with at least a modicum of relative comfort. And it's not just snowing...it's also very close to being in single digit temperatures. This has me thinking very fondly of southern California and our days at CHA. Today I wanted to do a follow up post with more specifics about our overall CHA experience. Right now we're back at home, filling up a notebook with all of the business cards we collected, taping them into the pages and writing notes next to them...all the who, what, and whys of our meetings with these nice people. We're also catching up on our orders...because no matter how many career opportunities come our way, it's our orders from our online shop that are the most important part of what we do.
So where should I start with the CHA stuff? How about our book... As I said, we were there to launch our brand new scrapbooking collection with Melissa Frances, but we were also there to promote our book. First, let me say that we love our publisher. They gave us pretty much 100% creative control with the book. Besides having full control of the content and text, we also did all of the photography, the graphics, and we even designed the cover ourselves (which is very rare). Our publisher, Page Street, is part of Macmillan, which is huge and has super duper wide distribution. You can find our book in all of the bigger places. And among those bigger places we're psyched that they were able to get our book in Michaels...it's a huge deal for us...and should be on their shelves within this month. We can't wait to see it at our local Michaels!
But our publisher does not specialize in craft/mixed media art books. We are their only title in this genre. So that means that our book might not be getting in front of all the necessary eyeballs...the eyeballs of the craft/mixed media art world. That's why we knew that we needed to bring our book to CHA. We thought that any shop interested in carrying our Sweet Life collection, might also be interested in featuring our book. And by the response we got at CHA, we assumed correctly! And besides talking directly to all of the mom and pops from all over the world, we also hooked up with a great distributor of craft books, R&M West Coast Enterprises. Yep...this fabulous distributor just so happened to occupy the booth directly next to the Melissa Frances booth! We got to chatting with these super sweet gals, and they were telling us that later in the day Jenny Doh and Pam Carriker would be in the booth doing book signings...and that our book seemed like a great fit with their other titles. Well, next thing you know, these fab gals have our book propped up on their table and they're taking dozens of orders for our book. They went from being our neighbors to being our distributors within 5 minutes! Yes, opportunities lurk right under your nose sometimes. Also, side note...we got to chat with both Jenny Doh and Pam Carriker later that day...wow! what a couple of nice and generous souls. Can't wait to revisit CA and see Jenny again...and we'll be seeing Pam this Spring at Art is...Dixie. where we will both be teaching!
Having the book at the show right along side our paper collection also served to illustrate the way that we blur the lines between mixed media and scrapbooking in our artwork. Lot's of scrapbookers are purists and don't like to mess around with "wet stuff". By "wet stuff" I mean paint, mod podge, gel medium, molding paste, washes, etc. And lots of mixed media artists aren't into the relatively sterile process of scrapbooking. But for us the two art forms go hand in hand. When we work on a painting we often reach for scrapbooking papers to add another layer of pattern and texture. And when we collage or do any sort of paper piecing we always want to enhance the look of the page with paint and other mediums. The book shows many of these processes. So we got to talking with lots of shop owners who would love to have us come and teach classes at their shop. And so many of them are very excited about expanding into mixed media classes. Oh man...we cannot wait to get out on the road to travel to all of these shops. Just seeing The Sweet Life on their shelves right along side Mixed Media Masterpieces will be such a thrill! We are gonna travel near and far. Once I get some dates and details nailed down I will be sure to share them here. I know we're gonna be all over the US and Canada for sure. But we also talked with some other peeps throughout Europe and we might be jumping the pond as well.
These gals from Spain who have a chain of shops were super sweet. Our friend Carolyn Peeler (far left in the pic above) will be going to Spain this fall to teach. We're figuring out if we can do some dual dates with her. That would be so awesome.
And speaking of awesome...it was great to get together with the gals from Paper Tales. We last visited Paper Tales in San Diego when we did Kim Caldwell's Artistic Affaire, and we vowed to set up to do some classes at their amazing shop. Well, we're still working out the details of those future plans...and we talked even more about it over dinner after one of our long days at CHA. We went to Downtown Disney to a gigantic labyrinthine location of Rain Forest Cafe. It was loud and crazy and we were all so so hungry and so so exhausted...but it was a great time! Me and Aaron sat down at the end of the table with Michelle and Cindy, and we couldn't hear at all what was going on at the other end with Carolyn and Karin! Aaron once again expressed his envy of their San Diego weather, and they said nothing to dispel his dreams...all the rumors are true...the weather really is perfect. ha!
(I had been posting some daily outfit pics each morning over on Instagram)
So at CHA the daily schedule was this:
Wake up and send Aaron down to the hotel lobby for a muffin and some free lobby coffee.
Then drive to the convention center with Carolyn and Breigh.
Show begins, and we talk to people/take photos/write orders for the next 8 hours...maybe stopping to nibble a shared granola bar out of my purse.
The show ends for the day and we find the nearest and tastiest restaurant that doesn't have a two hour wait time.
After the restaurant we drive back to the hotel, take a shower, and pass out.
Wake up and do it all again!
That was it in a nutshell but there were some slight variations. Like one night we had to wait for more than an hour to get a table at a restaurant. So while waiting we found a nearby bookshop that Aaron flipped for. It was a discount place, and Aaron ended up getting a stack of books for a dollar a piece. He would've bought way more but we were dreading how much heavier our luggage would be with all the books in there.
Also, on one evening we went out to Buca di Beppo with our new friends Ellen and Egil from Norway. First, Buca di Beppo is so so fun! The over the top Italian with a capital "I" decor was so funny! And the food, served family style was classic, button busting good! And our company...our new friends Ellen and Egil, who own one of the largest scrapbooking stores in Norway, Bikuben, were such a fun couple to hang out with. They're friends of Carolyn's, and she has been to their shop to teach classes. Anyway, Egil (pronounced like Eagle) is one of the funniest guys ever. That night we all went home with our stomachs cramped up from laughter! Such hilarious conversation! Wow, what a great time!
Oh and Ellen gave us a big big bar of Milk Chocolate from Norway...it was so incredibly delicious!
At the show itself, we met more people than I could ever list. And we could have met so many more if we ever got the chance to actually walk the show floor. Seriously, the whole day will go by and you'll realize that you didn't even leave the row where your booth is. On the last day we snuck off a couple times, but we still didn't get to see a fraction of what we wanted to see.
It was so sweet that Christy Tomlinson stopped by...she's adorable! Love her. And me and Aaron loved seeing Amy Tangerine and her little guy. He was sleeping when we first started chatting, and slowly he started to wiggle a foot here and there, and then he woke up and I felt sorry for him that his first sight was a crazy pink haired gal who was waaaay too tired herself from standing and talking all day!
And we also got to hang for a minute with the Crafty Chica herself Kathy Cano-Murillo! She is maybe the sweetest thing ever! And oh my gosh is she just a whirlwind of creativity and inspiration. We loved seeing her. We actually got to see her from a distance for most of the show. The I Love To Create booth was just across the way and she was doing some demos up on a little stage all day. And Cathie Filian and Steve also stopped by our booth. They are the best! Such amazing energy comes off of those two. And Cathie is just so darn adorable!
We met a bunch more online friends but our camera wasn't always handy. And most times when we ran into someone it would be when we were quickly rushing to get to our respective booths after a coffee or bathroom break. It was super fun meeting Heidi Swapp, but it was mega early in the morning. And we loved seeing and talking to our super talented friend Ashley Goldberg. The details of which I am saving for another post. We just adore her and can't wait to share what she is up to with you guys. I'd hate to try to squeeze in all of the Ashley buzz way down at the bottom of a long post like this. So please check back with me for the deets on her.
Ohh and I had to share this video with you...it's great to see Aaron and his crafty colleagues gettin' down. Debi Beard is great! Aaron said he recognized her voice before even seeing her. We chatted for a while and she's just a sweetheart. You need to watch all of her diy videos!
Another highlight of our week was running into our old pal Mark Montano. We have been admirers of Mark's work going way way back. We showed him our book and he was so genuinely psyched about it. He is a total sweetheart...and it's so nice of him to include us in his Week in Review!
This is what the weather looked like when we left the show on the last day. Yeah, it was in the 80's. And it was in the 80's when we boarded our plane bound for home. Well, we first had to make a connection in Chicago. Once again, the airline scheduled our planes so close together that we had to literally run from one plane to the next. But in that brief run through O'Hare we felt every bit of the 16 degree temperature out there on the runway. gross. Oh jeeez, I can't stand the stress of making connecting flights. And then, the plane to New Jersey was so unbelievably packed. There was no room in the overhead compartments for most of the carry-ons that people had. We'd be landing in Jersey at close to 10pm and all we had in the entire day was coffee in the morning. We knew that we had no food back at our house and were groaning at the idea of late night take out food. So on the plane we pretty much told the flight attendant to give us any and every snackbox that she had in her magic cart. And oh boy did we eat that stuff fast!
Oh and just in case you thought that me and Aaron may have gotten used to the glamorous life of travel...that maybe we've gotten too big for our britches...and from here on out we will only accept the finer things that life has to offer...well, I've got just the image to convince you otherwise. Above is what we came home to. Yes, when we left for California we had frozen and broken pipes. When we got back home the ceiling in our laundry room had caved in from the rainfall. Ahhh, Hurricane Sandy...the storm that keeps on giving.
Thanks to all of you for reading! I'll be back soon with some great projects/tutorials using our Sweet Life collection! Can't wait for you to see the stuff!
xo, Jenny...and Aaron