Archive | Events

Tour the 2017 Creativeworld Trend Show

One of the signature events of the Creativeworld trade show in Frankfurt, Germany in late January every year is its Trend Show. For 2017, the Creativeworld trend show was the event’s most expansive yet, featuring three themed display areas and multiple hands on areas for attendees to experience.

[Disclaimer: Messe Frankfurt and its Creativeworld show are a sponsor of this website.]

Creativeworld 2017 Trend Show

Source – Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Marc Jacquemin

One of the hands-on areas in the Creativeworld Trend Show is the reading area, where long tables are covered with a huge variety of craft industry publications from around the world for show attendees to peruse, enjoy, and learn from.

Creativeworld Trend Show Reading Area

Of course, the publications are in a variety of written languages. But as I noted in my Scrapbook Update article about the language barrier at the Creativeworld show, creativity is a common language. Even if you don’t understand the written language, there’s still much to be learned and appreciated from the pictures. (I’m pretty sure I confused the heck out of a flight attendant on a previous trip home from the show because I was flipping through a German language magazine and then asked her if she spoke English! But I just couldn’t resist grabbing a couple of magazines in the airport to soak up some German style!)

Craft Books

If you wanted to do more than look at the trends or pictures of other people’s work, there was plenty of chance to do that too. The workstation area hosted a variety of projects in different crafts that let show attendees put the trends they saw into action.

Creativeworld Trend Show Workstation

But the true heart of the Creativeworld Trend Show is the three large display areas that each focused on a different trend “style” for the next year, and showed examples of it in action. Here’s a look at them!

Trend: Whimsy

Whimsy is described by the Messe as “a trend full of contrasts”. It’s bright, colorful, and full of busy pattern.

Source – Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH

The whimsy style loves geometric shapes added over materials such as light wood, and using materials like perler beads to create ultra modern jewelry.

Perla Bead Necklaces

It’s color on color, pattern on pattern, combining to the edge of visual chaos.

Creativeworld Whimsy trend

Whimsy is perfect for fabric artists of all kinds, who can stencil on and combine patterned fabrics.

Whimsy trend sewing

There’s also a touch of what the Messe calls the “bizarre” and “outlandish” in Whimsy, such as these animal statues.

Source – Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Marc Jacquemin

And strange combinations of things are part of the Whimsy trend as well…such as putting “eyes” on this knitted hat.

Source – Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Marc Jacquemin

The next Trend Show trend is almost the polar opposite of Whimsy…it’s called Thoughtful.

Trend: Thoughtful

Messe Frankfurt describes the Thoughtful trend as “delicate and modest”. It is neutral, light, and enhanced with subtle patterns.

Source – Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH

Soft pastel rose & blue, along with white, are a big part of the thoughtful trend. Delicate florals like those below are also a big part of the trend.

Creativeworld Thoughtful Trend

The delicate patterns aren’t just florals, though. There’s also simple line patterns such as on these bottles, and cross hatches.

Source – Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Marc Jacquemin

The third trend is almost somewhat of a blend of the first two…Imperfect.

Trend: Imperfect

This trend was labeled as “the new perfection” by Messe Frankfurt.

Source – Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH

Materials like denim, with hand stitching and hand cut shapes, rule in the Imperfect style.

Creativeworld Imperfect trend

In the perfect Imperfect world, even the patterns that cover items like notebook covers are hand drawn, leaving a feeling of creative spontaneity.

Creativeworld Imperfect trend

Brush painting is another way of creating a feeling of perfect imperfection, and translates to a variety of designs and projects.

Creativeworld Imperfect trend

First Impressions of Floradecora 2017

This year, in addition to the shows we’re used to seeing in Frankfurt at Messe Frankfurt the last weekend of January, show attendees visiting for the Creativeworld, Paperworld and Christmasworld were greeted with a new addition: Floradecora!

[Disclosure: Messe Frankfurt, which puts on Floradecora, is a sponsor of this website.]

Floradecora, designed as an additional draw for the seasonal buyers who attend Christmasworld and the craft and garden center buyers who attend Creativeworld, is all about flowers! For show attendees who were coming from parts of the globe buried in snow, walking into Floradecora was like getting an explosion of spring and summer to blow away the winter blues. (But I recommend bringing your antihistamine if you are an allergy sufferer, because all of these beautiful flowers crammed in the exhibit halls come with a hefty dose of sneeze inducing pollen!)

Floradecora 2017

It’s hard to call what you see on this show floor “booths” since the displays are like walking through a massive garden. Each company has brought their various cut and seasonal floral products to display in abundant glory for maximum. Why display a dozen tulips when you can display ten dozen in a rainbow of colors?

Floradecora 2017

Since Floradecora is something of a brand extension of Christmasworld, there were lots of holiday offerings to see. These poinsettias, of course, are a Christmas classic, available in many a store come holiday time. (Much of the U.S. thinks of these as potted plants but where I live in Florida, we can grow them outside. I still can’t get quite used to seeing porches full of pots of them at the holidays!)

Floradecora Poinsettia

It wasn’t just raw plants on display…there was also companies offering plants that were packaged, like these mini evergreen plants that were potted and decorated to look like Christmas trees for sale at the holidays.

And there was also fresh floral seasonal home decor items on offer. This gorgeous fresh evergreen wreath will look seasonal through the Christmas holidays but not look out of place continuing to hang through the winter in cold weather areas.

Floradecora 2017If you’re sick of winter and would like to see something a bit more spring-y….tulips were a popular offering at Floradecora, perhaps because of its vicinity to the Netherlands, home of the world’s most famous tulip fields.

Floradecora TulipsWho knew there were so many color variations of tulips?

Floradecora TulipsThere was also fancy versions of tulips on offer, including some with ruffled and frayed edges on them, and interesting color variations.

Floradecora TulipsJust like with Christmas, there were packaged plant options for spring on display as well. These spring bulb live plant offerings are right in line with the current craze for chickens in home decor.

Floradecora Spring FlowersAnd of course, there had to be plenty of the queen of all flowers, the rose! There were masses of them in all shades, hybrids and stages of bloom.

Floradecora RosesAnd yes, they smelled as good as they looked! If it weren’t for my allergies making my face turn into something resembling the great pumpkin, I could have spent all day just breathing in the beautiful smells!

Floradecora RoseEverywhere you turn at the show there are beautiful flowers for every occasion…there was also a huge display of these lilies in white.

Floradecora 2017Here in Florida, it’s popular to buy potted orchids to grow in homes, so I’m used to seeing them for sale in stores. But I’ve never seen quite this many – or this many different size options – in one place before. Those ones on the far right are huge!

Floradecora 2017

Not all of the flowers on display at Floradecora were in their natural state. I’d never seen glitter dipped roses before, but it seems like they would be perfect for a special occasion like a formal wedding.

Floradecora Glittered Roses

And some of the floral offerings weren’t natural at all! These roses by Primera were made of wax! These would be great where live flowers are unsuitable, and silks are impractical as well. They seem able to stand up to conditions that would crush or damage silks, and won’t move in the wind like silks will.

Floradecora 2017

The Primera roses come packaged in boxes, and are available in various quantities.

Floradecora 2017

The Primera booth had some absolutely gorgeous samples on display that showed off what could be done with the wax roses to create arrangements for a formal event.

Floradecora 2017

This was only the first year for Floradecora, and like Creativeworld has the past 7 years, it will surely grow and change as it matures in future years. I look forward to seeing how it develops!

Behind the Scenes at the 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade Floats

Reported by Maria Del Pinto

2012 Shriners Hospital for Children Rose Parade Float

One of my favorite family traditions is to work on the Rose Parade Floats for the “Tournament of Roses” which is held every year in Pasadena, California.  While everyone else is out doing their after Christmas activities, there are hundreds of volunteers working on those wonderful floats that you can see during the Rose Parade.

2012 Loyola Marymount University Rose Parade Float

So how do you get from the metal base float to the finished “Loyola Marymount University” 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade float in the photo above?  Well it is a very well organized system that is powered by both the float building personnel and volunteers from all walks of life.

2012 Tournament of Roses looking down at the Rose Palace Work Floor

The work floor may look a bit chaotic but it is actually a very organized process.  There are flowers, floral supplies, scaffolding, power tools, and equipment. Additionally, there are people everywhere all

working in a unique harmony to create some of the most breath taking pieces of floral art that I have had the pleasure to enjoy first hand.  Every flower that comes goes through a process that can vary in accordance to the type of flower it is.  The volunteers then begin the processes of gluing wooden sticks to the stem of each carnation bud.
Petal Pusher Volunteer Gluing toothpicks to the Carnation Buds
Once the adhesive is dry, each bloom is carefully hand fluffed by the volunteers
Fluffing the Carnations
and then put onto Styrofoam base to be lined up by color and type of flower.
Then they are labeled to be placed onto the float in accordance with artist diagram directions.
Once they are labeled, the flowers are lined up next to the float they are going to be placed on. 
This allows the volunteers to begin the process of placing the flowers 
2012 City of Glendale Rose Parade Float
onto the floats, one by one.

Every part of the float is covered by flowers, leaves, stems, seeds, and other natural materials.  Some of the float signage is covered by a process of using individual flower petals which are glued onto the surface one-by-one by the volunteers.

This is slow and sticky process. The glue has to be strong enough to hold the petals onto the signage throughout the parade route.   We usually end up with glue all over our hands and clothing, most of the seasoned volunteers will advise new volunteers to wear their oldest clothing (since it will probably get trashed during the float decorating process).

Additionally, we glue seeds, dried orange slices, and other natural materials to various surfaces and

signage.  In the photo below, you can see a volunteer working on the “City of LA” plaque using these types of materials.

You can see how tiny the natural materials used in the process can be.  Each seed has to be attached with the adhesive.
More examples of the various materials used.  The wagon wheel has dried and fresh flowers, seeds, beans, and more on it.
2012 City of Glendale Rose Parade Float

The beautiful portrait below, is composed of seeds, ground pepper, ground flower petals and other natural materials which were applied by hand (one-by-one) by various volunteers.  It is amazing to see this time consuming process create such an interesting portrait in person.

HGTV 2012 Rose Parade Float
Here is a look at some of the different floats and the cool features you may not get to see when you see the floats in the Tournament of Rose Parade on television.
The 2012 HGTV Tournament of Roses Parade float sported a very cool cobblestone road,

which is made with by using potatoes that are cut in half

and covered in spices and ground seeds.

The Lions Club International 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade float was an amazing example of the creative use of crushed natural materials and florals.  The center of the flower is dried lentils.

Which were individually glued on to create the center of the flower bud.  All materials used on these floats must be organic in nature and cannot be dyed.  They are fresh, dried, crushed and/or pureed and then applied individually by the volunteers onto the float surface.  All visible parts of the float must be covered in these floral or natural materials.

These bud were attached to the float.  The floating ribbon on the float is completely decorated in crushed natural materials and cut up leaves.

2012 Lions Club International Tournament of Roses Parade float
Seeing these amazing works of art emerge from their beginning stages to end product is an amazing experience.  Being that they are built in large empty buildings that have to be large enough to house these amazing pieces of work, volunteers do get exposed an interesting variation of temperature conditions.  This year we had a very warm week (70 plus degrees), so it was rather warm in the daytime.  Then it switched to cool in the evenings (50 degrees and below), so if you decided to volunteer to work on these in the future, just layer your gear because getting to work on these floats and seeing the end result is so worth the extra effort.  

If you live in or are visiting California,  I highly recommend checking out the Tournament of Roses Parade Float display which sets up at the end of the parade route (on Sierra Madre Blvd).  Currently they charge $10 for adults and children are free.  I find that it is worth the traffic and parking challenges to see these floats in person and see how the designers and volunteers have used natural materials to create the Tournament of  Roses Parade floats.

We would love to hear from our readers what type of activities they participate in during the holidays.  What are you looking forward to in the new year?


Event: Glitterfest Fall 2011

Reported by Maria Del Pinto

 If you embrace the creativity of the holidays, enjoy unique handmade items, German glass glitter, love vintage collectibles, or just want to enjoy in a bit of whimsy and fun, then you need to know about the “Glitterfest” show which is created by Sheryl Simpson and Dianne White.  
The Glitterfest fall show was held on October 15, 2011, at the Elks Lodge in Santa Ana, California.  My friends and I arrived early to be able to catch all the fun and excitement of the event.  Upon arrival, we followed the signs and joined the line of excited attendees who were kind enough to share their excitement for the event with us.
They told me a little about the various artists that they were going to see.  Since it is easier to understand the whimsical nature of this event through photos, I got permission to take some pictures at the event to share with our readers. Below is a peek at some of the wonderful work these artists donated for the show raffle.

I stopped by Denise Hahn’s (In My Blue Room) booth.  She sells some great vintage supplies and fun crafting kits, along with her finished pieces through her etsy site shop.  I bought a fun skeleton kit and a jewelry making kit (that came in a jar). 

I love the “Day of Dead” festival celebrations throughout the Los Angeles and Orange County area and was pleasantly surprised to find some very cool “Day of Dead” inspired work.  One artist who had a fun display was Dennis Haynes from Runnamuck Studio.  He also sells on etsy but there is nothing better than getting to see his creations in person.
Another fun artist, is Lori Gutierrez who make an eclectic collection of that spans from home decor to wearable art.  She even had some of her cool crowns on display that were similar to the one she did for the Somerset Home article she wrote. 
Then there was the work of Colleen Moody.  I just fell in love with the cute snow angel diorama below. Unfortunately, someone else bought it before I could.  Her pieces are so whimsical, cute and each one has its own unique story.  Her vintage jewelry pieces are also lovely.
It got pretty crowded at this show, so I had to wait a bit to finally see the fun characters created by Jenny Hernandez (The Polka Dot Pixie) in person.  I had heard about her work from some of the ladies in line and just had to get a peek.  
After talking to Jenny, I found out that she also teaches sculpting classes at different locations throughout the year.  You can also so see more pictures of her whimsical characters on the Polka Dot Pixie flicker site.

The show also had an outside area with some amazing booths that included the “Blossom Vintage Chic” booth, where I got to meet Debbie Watts.  
I had a fun time talking to her and seeing her great selection of vintage and antique merchandise. I also spent some time talking to Linda Fitt and Sandi Woods of Eurotrash.Co.  They had some fun mini kits for jewelry making and for tabletop decor, as well as a great selection of vintage inspired jewelry.
I was excited to find out that Michele Legler (Mosaic Cottage)  had a table at this show.  I love her mosaic work.
  She makes some very cool mosaic furniture pieces, home decor items, mosaic cakes, and mosaic cupcake pieces that are so darling.
Another fun booth was “Beyond the Poison Apple” with fun selection of holiday merchandise made by Rose Polanco.
 I especially enjoyed her cute Halloween inspired tree ornaments and potion bottles.
Of course it would not be glitterfest if there was not at least one vendor actually selling an amazing selection of German glitter.  The Meyer Imports German Glass Glitter Staff was so very helpful in 
explaining the difference between the glass glitters and some of the cool fun things I could do with them.
They have a blog where they post ideas, links, and more on glitter related topics. I purchased some cool silver glitter, that tarnishes over time, to use on my crafty projects. (Check out the Craft Critique reviews of Meyer Imports glitter and supplies).

Additionally, each person who attended could enter their names in a drawing to win one of the many lovely prizes shown below (this is only a sample of the prizes).
All in all, this was a fun show to attend.  I ran into so many people that I know, including Jeanine Stein, (author of “Re-bound” which features some of her book binding techniques), Jenny Doh, Beth Livesay (from “Stampington“) and many others. This was a fun and exciting atmosphere.  The producers of this show did a wonderful job in decorating and maintaining a whimsical atmosphere that just made shopping fun.  The people who attended the show were very happy with their purchases as you can see in the picture below.


  • Fantastic variety of artists and crafters.
  • The show offered a unique variety of merchandise to appeal to a wide group of individuals. There was plenty of “eye candy” to be enjoyed.
  • If you have read some of my previous articles, then you know that parking in the Los Angeles and Orange County area is at a premium, and cost for parking in that area can be high.  The producers of this show went the extra mile to offer attendees two parking choices.  One was to park at the Whimzy store (in Tustin, CA) and ride the special tram to the show, or to park at the show site.  The parking was free and plentiful.


  • Other than the fact that there was a fabulous selection of merchandise and I had a hard time of deciding what I wanted to buy, there really were no cons to attending this show.



Event | Art Supply Warehouse Fine Arts Weekend

Reported by Maria Del Pinto

I am always on the look out for new ways to expose my kids to the fine arts, in a fun and enjoyable manner.  I was lucky to find out that the local Art Supply Warehouse store was hosting a fine arts event on their property.  It was free to the public, which was a major boost to my pocket book.  Additionally, they encouraged children and adults of all ages to participate (which meant they would have workshops that were child-friendly).
The “Fine Arts Event” was a three-day event that offered several different workshops to choose from on  each day.  There were also hourly demonstrations put on by a variety of artists.  The event also offered an opportunity to create a piece of art through the “Remaster The Masters” event to display on the Catalyst art class space wall.
We anticipated that we would probably spend the day at the event, so my kids packed a light lunch and off we went to the “Fine Arts Weekend Event”.  The first stop was at the store, so we could stock up on the art supplies we were low on.  The Art Supply Warehouse offers a 25% sale at least two times a year and this year it was timed at the same time as the fine arts event.  We have learned to shop first because at those prices they tend to run out of the things we need very quickly.
Once the shopping was completed, we went to the first demonstration which was sponsored by Strathmore.
This was a mixed media workshop where the kind folks at Strathmore provided each participant with one of their new mixed media pads to test out with watercolors, charcoals and pastels.
There were students of all ages taking this workshop.
If you are into junk journals, art journals, mixed media pieces, etc., you may find that these pads are great.  The instructor had samples of different materials that she used on these pads.  The first one was a page from her Strathmore Mixed Media Pad showing the use of Pan Pastels and Stencils.
The second was her Strathmore Mixed Media Pad showing the use of Golden’s Acrylic and hot sticks.
The third was a sample of air brushing on the same pad.
The fourth was an actual in class project by one of the students using watercolor sticks put down in layers to get vibrant colors.  She used a lot of water and still the paper did not buckle, which I think is a plus.
The next workshop we attended was soft pastels workshop which was presented by Lon Dekkers and sponsored by Rembrandt.
You may wonder what is so special about these pastels, for us it is that they do not contain any heavy metals (such as cadmium, lead, and cobalt).  My daughter has certain allergies and these did not cause any reaction.  The colors are also very rich and easy to work with.
Lon showed how to use the side of the pastel to fill in larger areas in the drawing.
He also went over several different ways to use the pastels to create depth and light.
Lon Dekkers demonstrating the Rembrandt Soft Pastels
He was very patent with my teenager, and happily answered all her questions.  She asked him to do a whole apple without smudging the colors on the apple,
so she could better understand how the use of particular colors brought light and depth into the apple drawing.
My daughter’s apple drawing
Her apple drawing came out really well.  Unfortunately, my apple turned into pumpkin (thank goodness that I do not have to rely on my own drawing skills to create cards).
My pumpkin.
My daughters definitely loved this workshop and I am sure I will see a set of these soft pastels added to their Christmas wish lists.
The next workshop we attended was an oil painting workshop which featured paints from the Jack Richeson Oil Paint – Shiva Collection.
The teacher, Jeff Morrow, for this workshop was a very patent artist.  Teaching oil painting to a group of individuals of varied ages and experience is no easy task.
  He taught us how to combine colors, use the various tools and some different painting techniques.
He also shared tips with the students, one of which is to think about perspective when working on a painting. This was helpful, since many of the students had never used oil paints before and were feeling bit nervous about working with them.
Oil Painting without a frame.
Another fun tip was that he showed us how the right frame can change how a painting looks.  The above the painting is great.  However, when you add a frame…
Oil Painting with a white frame.
…it definitely changes the way the finished painting looks.
 Another fun workshop we were able to attend was an “Artist Trading Card” workshop.   In this workshop we had the opportunity to try out the Daler Rowney’s FW Acrylic Inks.
This workshop was taught by calligraphy artist and author, Lisa Engelbrecht,
who taught us some fun techniques for creating our own Artist Trading Cards.
I am a big fan of making Artist Trading Cards because of their size.   I find that Artist Trading Cards are a manageable craft project and allow me to try out a variety of textiles, materials, etc. on them within a short time span.
Lisa Engelbrecht Artist Trading Card Projects
Here are samples of some of the ones made by the workshop attendees.
and some by Lisa.
The “Fine Arts Event” also had a very cool “Remaster the Masters” project.  Where we got to create our t-shirts master pieces with the new Sharpie paint colors.  The store provided us with a fun t-shirt to paint.
They had all the pens out and the colors were fabulous.  Below are just a few examples of some of the shirts people created.
My daughter drew her version of “Nyan Cat” which apparently is a popular cartoon cat with a “pop toasty” body.
Nyan Cat drawn by one of the kids
The event lasted three days and offered many more workshops than we were able to attend.  My family and I appreciate stores like Art Supply Warehouse who give us a chance to try out different artistic media and provide these fun educational opportunities.  If you are interested in similar events,  I highly recommend checking out the online calendar of local art stores and museums who often sponsor similar events in your area.
We would love to know what types of events our readers enjoy reading about.  Please take a moment to share some of your favorites with us.

Event | American Sewing Guild 2011 Annual Conference

This summer I got a chance to attend the “American Sewing Guild 2011 Annual Conference” which held in  Los Angeles, California.  It was a great opportunity to see what is new in sewing, what the trends were, and what  different types of workshops were being offered.  They even had a display of some their pin and thimble collectibles from former conferences.
  The conference was held at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, which is known for its unique architecture and decor.
The American Sewing Guild Conference offered over 19 different free demonstration of sewing techniques at the exhibit hall state.  The ASG conference offers workshops, seminars, and a large amount of lectures to suit difference member needs.  The selection was amazing.
They also had a wonderful community service project called the “Painted Turtle Pillow” where members

buy the pattern to make the turtle pillow and then donate them to either raise funds for the children or to give to the children.
The Painted Turtle camp (a non-profit organization) is a special camp and family care center for children who suffer from life threatening illnesses.
The American Sewing Guild also had some great special events that included the “Art Bra Exhibit” from “The Way to Wellness Foundation”‘ and the well-known Hoffman Challenge from the “Treasures Collection”.
The first exhibit I got to see was the “Art Bra Exhibit” from The Way to Wellness Foundation.  The art bras can be made of just about anything.  The artist’s imagination is only limited in the fact that it has to remain wearable and displayable.  The “Art Bra Exhibit” from “The Way to Wellness Foundation” was created to benefit woman’s breast cancer services.
The detail work on these bra’s is very creative and fun.
Below is a close up of some the different detail work on three of the bras that were on display.
The first has some fun western motifs on it.
The second has all different types of beads.
The third was covered in cloth dominos which were three dimensional.
The second special event was the 2011 Hoffman Challenge  from their “Treasures Collection.”  Here is a
peek of only a few of the beautiful pieces of clothing that were on display.
 In the trends area, I stopped by and spoke with Stephanie Klienman at the “Fabric Studio” booth.  She explained how the  Fabric Studio Software line allows the user to create and print their own fabric patterns in easy-to-follow steps.  It was so simple, and the resulting fabric is pretty to cool to see in person.
Below are printed examples of some fabric made using their fun new “Fabric Studio” software. I like the kitty and puppy fabric.  They are too cute!
This little dress is so adorable and if you look closely, you can see the little girl’s face in the print.
Then I went to visit with Linda McGehee from Ghee’s to talk to her about the zipper trend and some of the many different things you can make with them.
Her booth had an incredible selection of zippers that varied from simple to some covered with rhinestones.   I personally loved the fancy lace trimmed zippers.  She even had badge holders that were made from zippers.
Linda knows that folks are busy and cannot often shop around for the materials to make some of her cool jewelry projects that she sells on her website.  So she actually had some kits at her booth that were incredibly cute and very reasonably priced.
Samples from Linda’s Jewelry Making Patterns from zippers.
  She also offers free patterns on her website.  Linda a very cool class on upcycling old clothing.
Then I decided to check out the Exhibit Hall and see what types of merchandise was being sold by vendors. One thing that caught my eye was “Dawn Sklar Ribbon and Button” booth where there was a fabulous selection of ribbons and buttons.
She also had jewelry-making supplies as well as pre-made button jewelry.
However, it was the buttons themselves that held my attention. She even had some steampunk ones but they sold out pretty quick on those.

The show had a lot to offer between the workshops, the lectures and the exhibits.  The demonstrations provided some very useful information and the opportunity to see different ways to use the products.  There was plenty of eye candy and a great selection of interesting products to empty the pocket book.  If you enjoy sewing and being a part of such an interesting organization, then you may wish to look into their next conference.
  • ASG offers a large selection of workshops.
  • The ASG sends out supply list before the show so attendees can bring the right equipment.
  • Over 50 vendors of sewing related products.
  • Location…location…that part of downtown LA is a challenge both with parking.  We had to park a 1/2 mile away from the hotel to find reasonably priced parking (the hotel charged $40 per day for parking).
  • You could easily be overwhelmed if you try to attend all the lectures.
  • Trying to decide which workshops to attend, they had a huge selection.

What different types of shows do you enjoy attending?  What kinds of lectures and/or product demonstrations do you wish they would hold? Leave us a comment and let us know what kind of events you want to see reviewed here on Craft Critique!

Event | The Unique LA Show in California

Reported by Maria Del Pinto

The “Unique LA” gift show is known for its unique handmade and/or hand decorated arts & crafts items that appeal to folks who enjoy items that are different. This particular craft and gift show takes place several times a year, each with its own theme.
View of downtown Los Angeles from the show windows.
Now, this is not a traditional craft show; it has a more adult setting, since it is in the downtown LA area. It is not geared for small children and does not offer an area for children to run around and play.  If that is a concern for you, then I do not recommend bringing small children to this show.
The vendors will vary at each show as will the merchandise available for purchase.  However, there is always something exciting planned by the sponsors, including goody bags, hourly drawings, and more.
Upcycled old purses
At this show, you will not find teddy bears or traditional hand made dolls.  I did find jewelry made from Legos, motorcycle parts, and other non-traditional materials.
You will also find unusual and recycled material gift items like the fun doll furniture set below, made by local artisans and crafters.
The doll furniture set is made from recycled metals cans.
The chair above was made from a large food can and the ottoman below is made from a small food can
(similar to a tuna can).  I love all the small details and scrolling that the crafter did with the tin can pieces.
You can just about find anything at this show, including a booth that made and sold wood ties.
Another booth sold seed bombs and sling shots.  Apparently, you throw these wild flower seed bombs into ugly empty fields and within a few weeks they sprout and the field is filled with flowers.

The selection of merchandise available for purchase was beyond belief.  I had a great time checking out the different booths, demonstrations, food vendors, and photo opportunities that were available for show guests to enjoy.
Bacon Sticky Bun
The chocolate booth.  
  I had the opportunity to try all types of bacon desserts, some unusual sodas (made from vegetables) and other unique snack items.   I also found a booth with personalized socks, handmade chocolates (unique flavors), leather jewelry and so much more.
There were also “Make and Take” mini craft workshops for folks to experience.
Christi Friesen was there doing polymer clay works shops featuring projects from her various books.
For those who love polymer clay or just want to try it out, she also has a monthly “Blather and Stuff” newsletter and free project downloads on her projects page.
Christi demonstrating sculpting techniques.
One of the many cool pieces made by Christi that were available.
There was also a glass focal bead workshop by  Cathi Milligan (Author of “Mod Knots“), who teaches glass bead making workshops locally.
Tamara Berg had a very cool project made from champagne cork cages.  Her workshops were wildly popular with this crowd.  As you can see they are really cute and easy to make.
The Craft and Folk Art Museum sponsored a very cool craft workshop on hair accessories made with scrap materials.
The Craftside Publishing Booth featured a fun “Ugly Sweater” that folks could pose with (Photo Op Stops are always popular with this crowd).  Notice all the fun ’80s icons you find on the sweater.  It was a big hit with the show visitors.
Christi Friesen posing with the “Ugly Sweater”
The Craftside publishers arranged for a two day whirlwind of mini workshops and “Make & Take” demonstrations for this particular event.  They also donated journals which are made from the over runs from their book printings.
Journals made from the book printing over runs.

Since they do this to recycle the left over materials from the printings, you never know what the outside cover or inside covers will look like (nor the information contained within them).

The photo above shows a page from an embroidery book which could be used to learn stitches to make something like this quilt box cover.
Quilted box top my daughter made.
They do not do this at every “Unique LA” show, so you need to check the website to see if they are participating in the “Make & Take” workshops at the upcoming shows.
For those who are not familiar with the term, a “Make & Take” is a craft project that you make in a very short time (usually 10 minutes or less). Pictured in the photo below are Stefanie Girard,   Cathi Milligan, and  Linda Swingle who taught some of the workshops offered at this show.
Stefanie (author of “Sweater Surgery“) taught her recycling sweater projects.  Cathi demonstrated glass focal beads and showed off her handblown beads.
Linda Swingle taught a water color technique featuring images from her new set of stamps sold by Stampington & Co.
Nancy Langdon was hand to share some of her sewing secrets and techniques.
Nancy Langdon, is the author of “Sewing Clothes Kids Love”.  Nancy was on hand to give a workshop on ribbon rose techniques.
Each of these artists contributed freely of their time and class materials to provide this fabulous opportunity to provide show guest with a chance to learn a new craft and/or technique to the various visitors to the “Unique LA” show.  As someone who truly enjoyed the various workshops and demonstrations,  I thank them for their generosity in time and supplies.


  • Wide selection of crafts and hand made items to choose from.
  • A lot of merchandise made from unusual materials.
  • Fun, party-like atmosphere.


  • Parking in downtown LA.
  • It got crowded at times which made seeing some merchandise a bit more challenging.
  • You may spend too much money.

What types of craft shows do you like to visit?  What types of workshops do you wish they would offer and/or which are your favorites?