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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.


Pros:

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

Cons:

  • 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?

Event | The Scrapbook Expo

Reported by Maria Del Pinto
The Scrapbook Expo has several shows across the country; each one features a fun crop event where folks get together and crop the day and night away.
For those who have never attended a crop, here is how some of the crops work.  Each person rents a table workspace and brings all of their supplies and pictures that they may need to work on their projects.  
The point of this type of event is to create the opportunity for an individual to work in a very creative atmosphere with other folks who share their enthusiasm to create memorable pages.  The shared creative ideas are a lot of fun, and people often make new friends at these types of events.
Each day of the crop part of the show has a different theme.  In the one I recently attended,  Friday was a fun “Old West Crop Party” theme.  There prizes for creativity, enthusiasm and more.  The show also offered attendees of the crop event some great equipment like die cut machines, paper trimmers, scrapbook software (compliments of Kodak), cricut machines, and more for croppers to use during the crop.
They even had pre-packaged scrapbooking kits that scrappers could order to make during the event.
The Expo also offered a broad selection of classes in digital scrapbooking and media.
On the show floor, there were many “Make & Take” opportunities for attendees to participate in. the projects were varied and had a wide range of appeal.
There were also plenty of free Technique Demonstrations to watch throughout the show, one of which was at the JudiKins booth.
Judy was on hand to demonstrate her technique of combining cool stamps with other products to create fun mini works of art. My favorite stamp was her new “Galaxy Spiral Stamp” which is from her retro collection.
For this project, she combined dye-based inks, glitters, and
Diamond Glaze to create a fun effect on glass and plastic.  The soda can lid (project on the right in the picture below) is stamped, then the color is heat set before adding the diamond glass (which is allowed to air dry).
The JudiKins booth featured a vast assortment of new rubber stamp images.  Here is a sampling of some of the new images 
and the sample card project.  She has more project ideas , directions, and instructional videos on her website.
The next booth to catch my eye was the Button Farm.  I just loved their wall of products, which included 7 Gypsies,Tim Holtz, and some very interesting curios. 
They also offered pre-packaged altered album kits.  All the supplies need to complete the project are in the kit.  They offered some fun designs.  I like the fact that I would not need to hunt out various unique products on my own to finish the kit like the one below.  For those who do not have time to plan a project, the complete step-by-step directions are always included in these kits.
My next stop was the Little Windows Brilliant Photo Jewelry booth.  Their display of photo jewelry just made you want to stop and look closer.  
Their fun jewelry making kit includes an epoxy resin that is not toxic and does not have the usual strong odor that most epoxies have.  Plus, it is created to work well with photo prints.
Here is a sampling of the different types of pieces you can make with this product using a variety of techniques.
Quick Quotes had a fun “Make & Take” that featured their flip flop shoe book.  This kit features a real pair of flip flops as the album cover.  Then the pages are attached in accordion style.  This is a very fun and cute kit.
They also had a fun display from their Club Q which offers crafters a choice of either a page kit or an altered art kit.
Technique Tuesday, featured ideas and kits that were geared towards toward the busy crafter.  They had page layout kits, chip board, clear stamps, and more.
Another booth that caught my eye was the Charity Wings.Org booth.  They were hosting a fund raiser “Make &Take”  event at the show, where they were making cute cards to raise money for charity.
Charity Wings is a non profit organization (California Non-Profit Org. 501(c)(3)) that empowers creative people who want to make a difference in other peoples lives and help raise funds for various charities and organizations (this show raised money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society).
I enjoyed the wide selection of “Make & Takes” mini workshops,
scrapbooking classes, and digital media imaging workshops.
This show offered an abundance of paper craft supplies.  The selection of embellishments was more tempting that you can imagine.  They also had basic rubber stamping supplies, chip board books, altered art supplies, stencils, embossing powders, glitters, adhesives, and incredible deals on patterned paper.
It turned out to be a great mix of altered art, stamping, and scrapbooking combined.  One of the things that really stood out at this show is that the “Tim Holtz” line is extremely popular and people are finding lots of creative ways to use the products.  I also noticed the pre-packaged scrapbooking and altered art kits were widely available.  No matter what your experience level is, there was a kit to suit your needs.   For more information on upcoming workshops, 2011 show schedule, discount coupons, or vendors,  I would recommend checking the Scrapbook Expo show website.

Have you attended any scrapbooking shows?  What was your favorite project or workshop? We would love to hear your thoughts on these type of shows?

CHA 2011 Supershow: Chicago

July 21-24, 2011
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Rosemont (Chicago), IL

Following successful debuts in Orlando, Anaheim and Rosemont/Chicago, IL, the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) Craft Supershow will now be held as the CHA Craft Supershow Section at TransWorld’s Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories (JF&A) Show. This event has great synergy with the audience of crafters and craft and hobby enthusiasts in the Chicagoland area that have attended the Craft Supershow in the past.

The CHA Craft Supershow Section will draw over 8,000 crafters from across the country and feature industry-leading exhibitors showcasing unique craft products and supplies available for sale during the show. This along with the 25,000 attendees that the JF&A Show brings, it will surely be the ultimate craft shopping experience in Chicago! Expert crafters will assist attendees with hands-on projects and make-n-take demonstrations on the show floor.

“We launched the Craft Supershow to promote the benefits of crafting, such as the value proposition, quality time with family, stress-relief and to introduce and remind consumers of the pleasure of crafting,” explained Steve Berger, President and CEO of the Craft & Hobby Association. “We are very excited to bring this fun and informative event as part of TransWorld’s 34+ year tradition of finely attended Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Shows in the Chicagoland area.”

Read more about the JF&A show and Special Events

 
Register for free now!

Read more about CHA