Thursday, January 14, 2016

How I Spent My Time at the Craft and Hobby Association 2016 Mega Show

My trip to attend the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) Mega Show began at 4:00 am on Thursday, January 7. By leaving the house that early, we avoided the Bay Area's morning traffic and the LA area's afternoon traffic. The crazy-early wake-up was worth it to cut so much time from our travels.

The weather in Southern California had been cold and rainy until that morning. I arrived to blue skies and dry pavement.



I took two classes on Thursday, one on crafting trends and one on blogging and search engine optimization (SEO). I'll be sharing more about all my classes in a later post.
My Friday morning started with a 3-hour intensive hands-on boot camp about Google marketing. Then I took my one and only craft-related class, where I learned how to bead on a mini loom.
 
After one more class, I met up with Tanya at the Hot Product Sneak Peek. Here, we got to learn more about each of the Hot Products Nominees. Each gave a brief presentation about their product, then we were able to walk around the room to ask more questions or to try the item for ourselves. Here is Julie Fei-Fan Balzer (second from right) showing off her Art Foamies.


We enjoyed chatting with Joy Macdonell

 

After the event ended, Tanya and I went together to the Mega Block Party, sponsored by Michaels. We did some crafting, ate some delicious food, and met some really nice people. 

  
 
Saturday morning started bright and early with the Keynote.


Finally, it was time for the show floor to open! I ran (literally) to the DecoArt booth in order to sign up for one of the limited seats for their Mystery Box Challenge. Mission accomplished! I was the first one there.


The challenge turned out to be quite challenging! We each received a paper mâché house and seven bottles of paint (red, blue, pink, yellow, white, black and turquoise). There were make-up sponges, matte medium, gesso, foam plates, chipboard pieces, and tissue papers out on the table for us to share. Notice I didn't mention brushes. There were a few foam brushes, but no detail brushes. I did all of my painting with a make-up sponge and a piece of chipboard that I ripped apart. The 45 minutes went REALLY quickly. Here are 10 of the 12 houses from the challenge. I'm guessing all of you can tell which is mine...


I spent the rest of the day checking out the booths, talking with exhibitors, and doing fun make-and-takes. Here's a fluffy tulle pomander I made using the Bow Genius. What a neat tool! It was really easy to use and a lot of fun. The Bow Genius is a very deserving winner of the Hot Product Award! It's on my must-have list. 


When the show floor closed, I went upstairs to the CHA Business Meeting and Town Hall Meeting. Very interesting and informative! I'd never attended before and now it's going to be on my don't-miss list for future Mega Shows.  

My final activity on Saturday was the FaveCrafts Blogger Network Event. It is a wonderful event that lets bloggers connect with brands who are interested in working with them. I met some great people and look forward to partnering with some of them.
 
 
My Sunday morning started with a breakfast for bloggers that was sponsored by Michaels. Again, great information, some neat potential partnerships, and lots of awesome people.

Before my next class, I met up with Tanya and gave her a white t-shirt with my blog logo. I challenged us both to visit various exhibitors separately and come up with a way to decorate the shirt by the end of Monday. I cannot wait to show you how my t-shirt looks now! Quite a transformation!



I spent the rest of Sunday on the show floor. Even though I don't do needle crafts (yet!), I couldn't resist posing with this giant button, needle and thread in front of walls of yarn.


In the evening, I met up with some of my Fiskafriends.


After my Monday morning class, I headed to the show floor to find out what had won the Hot Products Award. I spent a frustrating 45 minutes trying (and succeeding, thank goodness) to blog with a terrible internet connection. With the post up, I spent the next few hours on my t-shirt, at appointments with manufacturers and doing a lot of make-and-takes. 

During the last hour the show floor was open on Monday, I gave myself a photo-based challenge. I'll tell you all about that in a different post as well.  
 


On Tuesday morning, I headed to the show floor right when it opened, wearing my colorful t-shirt. My plan was to visit each of the manufacturers who had contributed to the shirt's transformation and take a photo. What fun! 

By 11:30, we were on the road headed back north. Bye Mega Show! I had the time of my life.



My calendar is already marked for January 19-23, 2017 when the show will move to Phoenix. Wild horses couldn't keep me away. 

7 comments:

  1. YES!!!!!!!! That last sentence is WHAT I was WAITING for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was hoping you'd be coming next year! I will be there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  2. Whew! That sounds exhausting! Fun and exciting too, of course. You packed in a lot. I can tell it wasn't your first time!
    On the mystery box, my guess is that yours is the kraft one with the cool brick chimney. Was there a prize? I didn't understand from your blog why you were so anxious for one of the slots.
    Love all the pics. I'm really enjoying reading your CHA posts. You did a lot of cool things and you are so observant. It's fun to see it through your eyes.

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    1. You're right, of course. That's my house at the front right. :)

      Yes, there was a prize, but that wasn't my main motivation. They only had 48 slots for the entire show (4 groups of 12, but one group was reserved for retailers, so it was really only 36 slots for people like me) and I was dying to participate. You know how much I love a challenge... and a mystery challenge is even better! I love to see what I can make when the pressure is on.

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  3. I think I am still in recovery mode from my time at the show!

    I love that you were the first one signed up for the challenge- I know how much you wanted that.

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  4. Looks like an amazing and FUN time!!!! Thanks for sharing your experiences with all of us, Cindy!

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  5. Gosh. What a jam-packed schedule of exciting activities! Looks like you really enjoyed yourself!

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