A Photo Wrap-Up of the 2016 Craft and Hobby Association Mega Show

One of my creative goals for 2016 is to improve my photography skills by completing at least 6 challenges or specific assignments. I printed out the January photo challenge from CaptureYour365 and brought it with me to the Craft and Hobby Association Mega Show as a challenge for myself. The challenge has 31 prompts (one for each day of January) and are split by weeks into 'Personal', 'Color', 'Technical', 'Composition' and 'Inspiration.' Instead of using it as a picture-a-day challenge, I gave myself 90 minutes and the list as inspiration to see what I could photograph.

Let me begin by saying that photography at the CHA show is notoriously difficult, even for excellent photographers. The lighting is awful, the booths are crowded, there are almost always people in the background, and an irritatingly-large number of crafts and craft supplies have reflective surfaces. For a mediocre photographer like myself using a point-and-shoot, it's especially tough. Still, I had a lot of fun with my challenge and I'm actually happy with a few of my photos. Some are awful, but they make me happy anyway. :)

I allowed myself to interpret the prompts very broadly (hard for me as I'm usually very literal) and to just go with it. For each photo, I'll tell you the prompt and how the subject inspired me. I'm not going to link to every single manufacturer because of time restraints, but if you would like to know more about any of the photos, please ask in the comments and I'll be happy to share a link. 


FRESH START: This display of dozens of dress, wigs and accessories made with Caron yarn by Yarnspirations was so cool and so fresh. I could imagine each of the mannequins ready for her own fresh start.

ONE WORD: Technically, I suppose CINDY is a name and not a word, but I'm counting it. This tote is by Everything Mary and was great for carrying around a bunch of stuff during CHA.

THIS IS SO ME: An adorable snowman and fabulous ice cream cones made from colorful craft supplies? It's so me!

NEED THIS: I've really started getting into jewelry making recently. I'm taking a wire-wrapping class soon and have started collecting beads and findings for projects I want to make.

MAKES ME HAPPY: Two women in the Holster Brands booth used hot glue to completely cover this white dress with candy over the course of the show. I stopped by often to see their progress (and to drool over the beautiful bags of candies). The finished dress makes me happy.

PUSHING MYSELF: For this prompt, I took a picture of my badge on the fluffy green carpet of the Hot Products display area. Becoming a creative professional and struggling to find my place in the craft industry has required a ton of hard work. I've been pushing myself toward this for so long and it's really exciting to see opportunities coming my way.

GOOD FOR ME: I am very goal-oriented and have a hard time relaxing. A simple reminder to stop and smell the roses is really good for me. 

WHERE I STAND: Three CHA shows and it's still a thrill to be there. I love every minute.

A RELATIONSHIP: No matter what he's doing, there is always a crowd around Tim Holtz. His relationship with his fans is cool. 

MONOCHROME: These purple patterned papers really caught my eye. They're so pretty together.

COMPLIMENTARY: The challenge word is complimentary (as in free or giving a compliment), but I read it as complementary (as in complementary colors or enhanced something else). Bazzill Basics had a huge wall of rolled pieces of cardstock in every color they make. It was stunning. I love these reds, oranges and yellows. These colors are actually opposite each other on the color wheel, but they still complement each other so I'm counting it. (I told you I was literal.)

DRAW: Few things make me as happy as a full spectrum of colored pencils.

MOSTLY WHITE: This wall of styrofoam heads in the FloraCraft booth went from floor to (almost) ceiling. The heads were white, but when they turned on the lights from below, they took on a neat glow. 

BLACK AND WHITE: This is a tiny portion of the Crystal Ninja's 1956 Porsche covered in over 247,000 hand-glued Swarovski crystals. The sparkle was incredible.

A TREASURE: Weave Got Maille had a literal treasure chest in their castle-themed booth. 

SEPIA: When I think sepia, I think Graphic 45. 

LIGHT: It's Lumiere, made with rubber bands and the Rainbow Loom!

WITH THE SKY: Richard Garay's booth had four different vignettes for his different lines. I love the colors (and sky!) in this section.

SIDELIGHT: The bright moon in Van Gogh's painting is to the side. So it counts. (Work with me here). The work on the easel was created entirely with washi tape. The artist worked on it for a few hours each of the days the show was open. Stunning.

UNDER: "Under the sea! Under the sea! Darlin' it's better, down where it's wetter, take it from me!"

ARTIFICIAL LIGHT: Literally every single photo.

DAPPLED: I was smitten with everything in the Sweet Sugarbelle booth, including these cookies. Technically the light isn't dappled. Oh well.

SPACE: How cool is the constellation patterned paper by We R Memory Keepers?!

A FAVORITE: I love Deflecto's 3-tier cupcake stand, I love this yellow and pink color scheme and I love cupcakes.

ANGLED: The word angled can refer to fishing. This fish at the Doodlebug booth is so cute. 

CURVED: I love this octopus by Paper Accents. Gorgeous curves, great color, so cool.

CROPPED: This is only a tiny portion of a HUGE foam marionette at the FloraCraft booth. Adorable and so creative.

ON: I love that you can dress up anything by putting lace tape on it, including walls!

CONNECTED: The Lion Booth was the big showstopper, as usual. I took at least a dozen photos, but these give you a decent idea of how the yarn was connected to form the ceiling and walls of the booth.

TEXTURE: It's hard to get more texture than with a suit and tie made of rubber bands.

Challenge complete! Remember, please let me know if you'd like more information or links to any of the manufacturers and I'll be happy to get those to you!


  1. These are amazing!!!!!!!!! I am loving how you interpreted the prompts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  2. Looks like you had an amazing time. Thanks for sharing the photos :)

  3. I am LOVING your photos. Great way to challenge yourself.


I moderate comments, so you will not see yours appear right away. Please check back if you had a question; I promise to answer it as soon as I see it. Thank you for taking the time to comment!