Industry News & Reviews

CHA 2016 Product Picks!


I feel it’s time to ease myself back into blogging after taking a long winter break! Did you all have a great Christmas and New Year? Ours was lovely though very busy. Things are just about getting back to routine now – it’s no less busy, but it’s more structured!

Today I’m going to share my product picks from the latest CHA Mega Show releases. In case you don’t know, the CHA Mega Show is when the Craft & Hobby Association USA have a big trade event with hundreds of craft manufacturers displaying their new lines, so that stores and kit clubs etc can choose what to order. The manufacturers tend to also share their new items on their blogs and social media in the run up to and during the show.

There is, as usual, lots that I want to buy. I won’t be able to get it all. But here are my CHA 2016 Product Picks…

Pink Paislee – C’est La Vie & Fancy Free

Pink Paislee C'est La Vie and Fancy Free

Pink Paislee have blown me away with their new lines! Fancy Free is designed by the lovely Paige Evans whose style I’ve always admired so it’s no surprise I like her collection too.

My favourite item from the C’est La Vie collection is without a doubt these mirror stickers – so shiny:

Pink Paislee C'est La Vie Mirror Stickers

And whilst I love everything in the Fancy Free collection (the colours are so perfect) my must have item from it is this string-art template:

Pink Paislee Fancy Free String Art Template

Which will be great to design a page background but also some wall art, don’t you think?!

My Mind’s Eye By The Sea & On Trend 2:

My Mind's Eye By The Sea & On Trend 2

I usually do like a good sea-themed collection, thanks to us living near some beautiful beaches. By The Sea has some great animal icons including a narwhal. So fun! I’m loving the chipboard elements:

My Mind's Eye By The Sea Chipboard Elements

On Trend 2 is another beautiful collection from designer Jen Allyson. It includes golf foil touches, with flamingos and cacti! I think the item I want the most is this sheet of paper to cut apart (called ‘Little Things’):

My Mind's Eye On Trend 2 Little Things Foiled Paper

Heidi Swapp Minc Mediums:

Heidi Swapp Minc Reactive Mist

I purchased the Minc last year (some of your will remember my unboxing video and layout process video using the machine) but I haven’t used it too often. The main reason is that while I love Heidi’s style I really wanted to be able to foil my own designs, which I thought I’d be able to do because we have a laser printer here. However my own printed designs never come out that well – I don’t think out printer is ‘juicy’ enough, and there’s no way to adjust the ink output. So I had the Minc toner ink pen on my xmas wishlist, but I didn’t get it and now it’s sold out everywhere.

So of course I am excited to see there’s some reactive mist, paint, and art screen ink which are all coming out soon!

You can see the mist in the photo above, you can click HERE to see a photo by Amy Tangerine of a tag she’s made with the paint, or you can click HERE to see a video by showing all the new Minc supplies.  I can’t wait to get my hands on them!

Simple Stories – Robin’s Egg Binder & Basics Woodgrain Paper Pack:

Simple Stories Robin's Egg Binder & 12 x 12 Basics Paper Pack

The colour of that binder is amazing, I have to have it! I don’t know what I’m going to use it for yet but I will be buying it for sure! And I can never have enough woodgrain and ledger papers, as they work great for photographing projects as well as actually using on projects. Every time I use one on a project I feel a bit sad that I’m not going to be able to use it as a photography background anymore!

Crate Paper Bloom Mini Tassels and Bow Stamps:

Crate Paper Mini Tassels and Bloom Stamps

The Bloom collection designed by Maggie Holmes is cute but I probably won’t buy all of it as I can’t afford to buy everything I want! I do, however, think I’ll get the mini tassels and the bow stamps if I can manage to. They are just plain adorable.

Jillibean Soup Mushroom Medley Pea Pod Parts:

Jillibean Soup Mushroom Medley Pea Pod Parts

Something else that’s adorable is this Mushroom Medley collection by Jillibean Soup. I like the papers but they aren’t calling to me as much as the Pea Pod Parts shown above – I think it’s brilliant that there’s so many little pieces which I can scatter about on my projects! I also want the stamps!

Queen & Co Donuts:

Queen & Co Donuts

I felt like I needed to finish with something sparkly, and these ‘Donuts’ from Queen & Co look sparkly and fun. There’s something irresistible about them!

That’s my product picks for the season! Has anything caught your eye?

CHA 2016 Product Picks at Jennifer Grace Creates

I hope you are having a great week. I’ll be back again soon, I promise!

Jennifer x

Frosty Festivities Christmas & Winter, Giveaways / Winners, Industry News & Reviews

My Crafty Christmas Wish List 2015 – And A Giveaway! {NOW CLOSED}

(This post is part of my Frosty Festivities 2015 Blog Event – see a list of all the posts HERE)

As we’re getting close to the end of the event (tomorrow’s the last day), I thought we’d have one last giveaway {NOW CLOSED}. Today I’m going to share what I’ve got on my crafty Christmas wish list this year, and I’m giving away a £10 GBP Amazon Gift Voucher (or nearest equivalent in your local currency) to one winner, so they can put it towards something they’d like! If the winner doesn’t have Amazon in their country we’ll think of an alternative prize, but I think most of my readers do!

My husband asked me to make a wish list for him to choose something from for my Christmas present. I love it when he asks me to do that, as then I can browse and ‘window-shop’ lots of things I’d like, but it’s still a surprise as to which item he’ll choose to buy.

Here’s my Crafty Christmas Wish List 2015. The links go to Amazon UK but they are not affiliate links, I don’t have any connection with them, I just thought you might like to see more about the products. Amazon also have full release on anything to do with the giveaway – they are not involved at all.

1. ‘I Just Like To Make Things’ book by Lilla Rogers – I’ve been wanting to take Lilla Rogers Make Art That Sells Classes, about designing illustrations and patterns for scrapbooking, clothing and more. But they cost hundreds of pounds so are out of our price range right now. This book looks like it would be a nice taster of what the courses are about:

My Crafty Christmas Wish List at Jennifer Grace Creates

2. Cricut Faux Leather in Walnut – Cricut have recently added some more materials to their line-up, and this one excites me the most – faux leather in walnut woodgrain. It looks like a nice warm colour which I can imagine cutting embellishments and jewellery from using my Cricut Explore. You can see some items made with faux leather on the Cricut US blog HERE. I can’t wait to get my hands on some:

My Crafty Christmas Wish List at Jennifer Grace Creates

3. ‘Doodle Stitching, The Motif Collection’ book by Aimee Ray – As you can probably tell from the Little Dorrit Embroidery Patterns Giveaway, and my Embroidered Tags, I have been enjoying embroidery lately. This collection of ideas looks like it would be fun inspiration for a host of projects:

My Crafty Christmas Wish List at Jennifer Grace Creates

4. Pink Paislee Memorandum Gold Phrase Stickers – I want a lot of Pink Paislee’s Memorandum and Cedar Lane collections, but this is one of the bits I want the most. So shiny and fun, these would make any scrapbook page special:

My Crafty Christmas Wish List at Jennifer Grace Creates

5. ’20 Ways To Draw A Jellyfish (And 44 Other Amazing Sea Creatures’ book by Trina Daziel – As I’ve been wanting to practice my drawing for illustrating scrapbook items or for clothing design etc, the ’20 Ways To Draw’ books caught my eye – they have a variety of titles. This one is the one I want the most, because I live by the sea and love the beach:

My Crafty Christmas Wish List at Jennifer Grace Creates

6. DIY Wooden Clock Kit (19cm) – We need a new clock for our kitchen. We have needed one for years, but I’m fussy and can never find one I like. Then I had a brainwave moment when I was scrolling through more clocks online that I didn’t like the other day – why not just make our own? This kit looks good because it comes with the numbers pre-drawn, which would save a lot of ‘time’ with measuring it out:

My Crafty Christmas Wish List at Jennifer Grace Creates

7. Becky Higgins Blush 12×12 D Ring Album – Well really I just need more 12 x 12 albums in general, as I have too many pages to store. This one is particularly gorgeous, and on trend for 2016, when this blush-pink colour is supposed to be really popular according to trend forecasts. But I’ll settle for most 12 x 12 d-ring albums:

My Crafty Christmas Wish List at Jennifer Grace Creates

8. ‘Creative Lettering & Beyond’ book – Since writing my first post on brush lettering I  have discovered Dawn Nicole, a fabulous designer, who has a blog, and wrote a post recommending hand lettering books HERE. She also has a free facebook group with lessons and tips on hand lettering which you can join HERE. This is the book she recommends the most, and I have to agree it looks very helpful:

My Crafty Christmas Wish List at Jennifer Grace Creates

9. A T-Square – This is simply to make it faster for me to draw straight lines for my brush lettering:


10. A Minc Toner Pen – At the start of the year I bought a Minc Machine to do some foiling (see my original post about it HERE), but I haven’t used it nearly enough. Mostly because I don’t like being limited to the Heidi Swapp designed items, and I’ve found it difficult to get my printed items to look good – which I think is a problem with our laser printer rather than the Minc. When I saw they’d brought out a Minc pen I got quite excited – I would love to try this out:

My Crafty Christmas Wish List at Jennifer Grace Creates

My husband is spoilt for choice on what to get me, huh? I do have some non-crafty items on my wish list too, including a mini food processor so I can make hummus, and the game Rummikub which I could remember playing with my grandparents, but only recently discovered what it’s called!

Now for the giveaway:

My Crafty Christmas Wish List at Jennifer Grace Creates

One person will win a £10 GBP Amazon Gift Voucher, or closest equivalent in their local currency. If the winner doesn’t have Amazon in their country we’ll work out an alternative prize.

To enter to win: Just leave a comment telling me a crafty item or two that’s on your wish list this Christmas! What are you hoping Santa will bring you this year?

The giveaway {NOW CLOSED} closes at 10pm GMT on Sunday the 6th of December 2015. It is open internationally. The winner will be announced here on Thursday the 10th of December, so make sure you check back to see if you won.

I’ll be back tomorrow for the final Frosty Festivities post. See you then!

Jennifer x

Industry News & Reviews

A Review Of The Handmade Fair (Our Mummy And Daughter Date)

On Saturday the 19th of September my daughter and I drove to London to experience Kirstie Allsopp’s ‘The Handmade Fair’ at Hampton Court Palace. We had a lovely day, but also came away with a few niggles & tips, so I thought I’d do a review of The Handmade Fair to tell you all about it!

For anyone who doesn’t know, The Handmade Fair is a 3 day event with talks, workshops, and ‘grand makes’, as well as stalls selling handmade supplies and finished items – with lots of stalls doing demos too. We won the tickets from Hester’s Handmade Home on Instagram, though I did see quite a few people running giveaways for the tickets in the run up to the event!

A Review Of The Handmade Fair at Jennifer Grace Creates

They were entry-only tickets, which meant I’d have to pay extra to go to any of the talks, workshops, or grand makes. I didn’t bother upgrading our tickets as my daughter couldn’t join in with the crafting – children under 12 couldn’t participate in workshops due to ‘health and safety’ reasons. It seems a shame that they don’t have at least one child-friendly workshop a day, as my daughter is a super keen crafter, and it’s good to nourish the next generation of creative minds!

We didn’t make it to the fair until 11.30am, as we got stuck in a ridiculous amount of traffic – the last little bit of the journey from the M3 to Hampton Court should have taken 15mins and actually took 1 hour and 45 minutes! The last 30minutes was driving from the full-up green car park to the further away blue car park. I may have cried a little bit when they said the green car park was full. I know the Handmade Fair organisers can’t help the traffic (there was extra traffic because of rugby and other events), but you would think they could find a venue with a bigger car park for all the attendees. It wasn’t like they were using the grandeur of Hampton Court Palace at all, as the Fair was over the road from that, on ‘the green’ which, let’s face it, is basically a field. A new, more accessible venue next year please?!

Anyway, rant over. We made it to the fair eventually, and wandered around to start with, checking out the lay of the land. This was made easy due to the colourful and iconic signposts:

A Review Of The Handmade Fair at Jennifer Grace Creates

We spotted that a couple of tents were doing free workshops, but it wasn’t the right time to start one, so we went for a look around the shopping tents. We found lots of lovely stalls – here’s a few of them:

A Review Of The Handmade Fair at Jennifer Grace Creates

Top left = Cool Crafting (where we got some cute wooden buttons / pendants), top right = The English Stamp Company (where I bought a stag stamp), bottom left = Ruby And The Crow (where we bought some gorgeous ribbons), and bottom right = Peach Blossom (where we didn’t buy anything though I was seriously tempted as it was all so pretty!).

We popped by a couple of the stalls doing free workshops – Craft Asylum and Janome, but their next workshops were full. So we continued our wander and stopped by the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint tent, where you could paint the furniture pictures on the wall. Little Miss really enjoyed this. Someone had already painted a bit of blue on this side-table, but she painted the rest green and orange, then I added white polka-dots to the blue bit. We were there for a while!

A Review Of The Handmade Fair at Jennifer Grace Creates

(Speaking of Annie Sloan paints, I just saw THIS BLOG POST by Kat at Housewife Confidential, re-doing a piano stool with pink and yellow paint, and it looks awesome!)

After that we headed to the Press Tent, where Louise from the BLoved Blog was running an Instagram #InstaPrettyParty workshop for bloggers and other interested people to attend. Louise was lovely and inspiring, and she’d set out a very pretty worktop to kick-start our ideas for flat lay photography:

A Review Of The Handmade Fair at Jennifer Grace Creates

Little Miss was very well behaved – while I listened to the workshop she was doodling in my notebook, looking very pretty against the tent backdrop:

A Review Of The Handmade Fair at Jennifer Grace Creates

Though her floral dress didn’t match the wall paper quite as well as Louise’s:

A Review Of The Handmade Fair at Jennifer Grace Creates

I wrote a post (HERE) back in May about how I was interested in using photo props and experimenting, so I really loved this workshop. Louise also gave great tips about scheduling your instagram photos and what times to post them, etc. It was fun to be in a room of other excited bloggers too! The BLoved Instagram account is HERE if you want to see some of their photos.

After this we visited the Mollie Makes tent, where Little Miss did a bit of colouring, and I browsed the books and picked up a free banner-making kit. It was also somewhere that you could get a cup of tea and a bit of cake, though when we were there they had run out of teacups!

We headed to the Craft Asylum tent for the next workshop but it was full again. So we ate a bit of our packed lunch, then went back there again for the next workshop – arriving half-an-hour before it this time to be sure of our place. A queue formed behind us so it was definitely the right decision – if you want to attend a free workshop, get there at least half an hour beforehand!

The tent was decorated beautifully with paper lanterns and rosettes:

A Review Of The Handmade Fair at Jennifer Grace Creates

The lovely Katie Skilton (who I met at Creative Exchanges in April) was running the workshop to make a paper rosette. Me and Little Miss made one as a team – I did the dangerous craft knife bits, and she did the fun sticking and stamping:

A Review Of The Handmade Fair at Jennifer Grace Creates

We also bumped into Dorothy Wood and Suzie Candlin who I’d last seen at Creative exchanges too. It was really fun spotting people who I knew and introducing Little Miss to them!

By now we were beginning to feel tired, so we had an afternoon super-treat of a pancake for Little Miss, and Churros for me. Another tip – make sure you do a lap of all the eateries before you choose where to eat, as there are so many delicious things to pick from. We made good choices – wow they were yummy:

A Review Of The Handmade Fair at Jennifer Grace Creates

Then we wandered around the stalls some more. We thought about going back to the Sizzix or Janome tents for the free workshops, but decided we didn’t want to spend the rest of our time waiting for a spot and then doing the 45min workshops. So we just spent a bit more money instead! We’d gone to the fair with a £50 budget (hubby actually took my cards away and made me take cash, very sensible of him), but we managed to get a lot of things for our money! Some were chosen by Little Miss, and some by me:

A Review Of The Handmade Fair at Jennifer Grace Creates

The banner kit is the free one from the Mollie Makes tent, and the Reloved magazines were in a £5 goody bag with some ribbons and buttons. The Craft Asylum deal was the best in my opinion, and 4 stamp sets and / or embellishment sets for £10! We each chose a stamp set and a embellishment set from there.

When it was time to go we stopped by Hampton Court Palace for a look. Little Miss was unimpressed – unless a Queen lives there then it’s not really a palace, apparently! She did like playing in the wooden carriages outside, and we took a few selfies of course:

A Review Of The Handmade Fair at Jennifer Grace Creates

Then we walked back to the car park… which I admit didn’t seem so far away now that we weren’t in a hurry! Thankfully there was no traffic on the way home, so we got back at a reasonable time, feeling very happy with our purchases and our mummy & daughter date!

The best bit of the day? When Little Miss looked up at me (I think it was when we were in the Annie Sloan tent) and said:

“Mummy, this is just the perfect place for us to be!”

My heart just melted. There’s my girl!

We would definitely go to The Handmade Fair again. But I’d love them to include a workshop that kids can join in with. And I think a new venue with more parking would be good, but I guess they need to make sure it’s accessible by public transport too. I did consider taking the train but it cost more and would take longer (when there’s no traffic). Perhaps I might brave the train journey next year.

Did you go to the Handmade Fair? Would you like to?

I hope you have a lovely, crafty, day.

Jennifer x