Industry News & Reviews

Fun at CHA UK Creative Exchanges 2015

It’s been quite a long time since I went to the CHA UK Creative Exchanges event, way back on the 18th – 20th of April. But I never wrote about it on here – when I got back from the weekend I was straight into preparing for my Focus Your Craft & Soul blog event, and since then everything’s just been so busy.

So here’s a little run-down of how my weekend went… I warn you this is a long post!

Fun at CHA UK Creative Exchanges 2015

I arrived at the hotel (The Coventry Holiday Inn – Academy) with time to spare, so I had a cup of tea in my room and perused the timetable:

A cup of tea at CHA UK Creative Exchanges 2015

When I headed down towards the conference suite I stepped out of the lift, and straight away I spotted some ladies who I thought I recognised from the FB group we had been chatting on in the run up to the event. Claire Newcombe, Clare Brown, and Jaine Drake all knew each other, online at least, as they are all on Sarah Hurley’s Design Team. But they were all lovely and let me join them for the evening. I am so grateful to them for letting me tag along! Here’s a photo of me with Claire (the tall one on the left) and Clare (on the right):

Making new friends at CHA UK Creative Exchanges

Over the course of the weekend I got on particularly well with Claire. We seemed to have a similar family / craft life balance, the same nerves about the weekend, and the same drive to make our crafting become our work life too. It was great to be able to talk to people who ‘get’ what you are talking about!

The Saturday evening was fun and relaxed (there were no talks to go to). We had an introduction/welcome talk, dinner, a decopatch crafting challenge, networking, and sponsor demos. Here’s our messy table when the decopatch activity was in full swing:

Decopatch Challenge at CHA UK Creative Exchanges

We were all decorating cupcake-shaped boxes!

I also went to a demo for Indigo Blu, led by the fabulous Sara Naumann. We were each given a FlitterGlu starter kit and taught to make a couple of cards using the kit plus a few extra items (like stamps and paint):

Indigo Blu FlitterGlu Starter Kit

I loved the blue & gold card – bold and bright! You can see another card I made with the kit HERE.

There was also a raffle table with lots of prizes which got drawn throughout the weekend. I was happily surprised to be the first winner of a big prize – I won this Grand Calibur by Spellbinders!

Winning a Grand Calibur at CHA UK Creative Exchanges

Thank you so much to Personal Impressions for sponsoring the prize! I was so excited to win this. I’d just been saying about a week beforehand that I wanted to get a manual die-cutter as I’d seen some dies and embossing folders I liked. Unfortunately I haven’t had time to play with it much, nor money to spend on the dies I wanted. But I will definitely get round to using it and sharing some projects with it on here!

We spent the rest of the evening chatting all things craft. My ‘Mummy’ gene kicked in and I tried to help tidy up too, but Craig wouldn’t let me… I’m glad he didn’t really as it was nice to just sit and chat!

The next day we were up bright and early for breakfast. I’d arranged to meet the lovely Sue from Stamping Sue Style and we had a nice meal and gossip. After a morning welcome talk it was straight into the schedule of informative talks.

I’m not going to write about every single talk I went to, because there was 8 of them and that would take ages. Here’s a list of what I went to:

 Social Media – How to manage your online marketing
Pitching To Craft Manufacturers
An Introduction To Licensing
How To Get Published in Magazines
Intellectual Property Q & A
Design Teams, What You Should Know
Legal Tips for Setting Up A Business
Your Creative CV

I’ll tell you about my favourite two talks.

The first was ‘An Introduction To Licensing’ with Helz Cuppleditch. I was gutted that I missed the beginning of this talk – I had a pounding headache after the first 2 talks of the day, and I thought that there was a time slot when I wasn’t worried about any of the talks, so I went to my room to have a lie down. But when I got there I suddenly realised I had the time slots confused and I was actually really looking forward to this talk, so I had to run back downstairs. I’d missed the first ten minutes or so. But what I did hear was so interesting – it was all about how she designs artwork for companies like Trimcraft. She talked about how to make a repeat pattern and other design tips. As I’ve been designing my own things over the last year or so, and want to do more, this talk was perfect for me.

The other was ‘How To Get Published In Magazines’ with Lara Watson, the editor of Mollie Makes. I had a little bit of a fan-girl moment for this talk, as I used to read Lara’s old blog when she was part of the Scrapbook Inspirations team, and had felt so pleased for her when she’d announced on social media about her becoming the editor for Mollie Makes. So I was excited to meet her! There were only a few people listening to the talk (she ran it again later in the weekend so I think more people went to that one), so we all sat round and had a friendly talk about things. Her presentation was spot on and I made lots of notes. She was so lovely and friendly and made me feel like I COULD approach magazines, with the right plan in place. Thanks Lara!

We also had a couple of keynote talks for all attendees. The first was with Leonie Pujol, who was funny and also made you think. I liked how she said that our industry will keep us young – it keeps your brain ticking over as there’s always more to learn!

The other keynote was with Zoe Arch about Pinterest. This was really interesting as she had loads of good tips on using Pinterest, for example that specific board names are better than vague ones – eg. a board called ‘boots’ is more likely to come up in searches than one called ‘shoes’. The main tip was to think about what you might type in when you are searching for something, and then making sure you are using those phrases in your board names and pin descriptions. She was another lovely person to meet:

Meeting Zoe Arch - Pinterest Ambassador at CHA UK Creative Exchanges

Sarah Hurley also talked about the Designer Accreditation program that CHA UK are starting, and how it is important to CHA UK to focus on designers and bloggers as well as suppliers and shops, hence why they want to run weekends like this one. I wrote down this quote from Sarah:

“Even if you love what you do, you should still get paid”

Which I keep remembering every time I read a tweet from an artist that’s been asked to work for free. It would be good if there were more opportunities to earn from creativity!

Here I am with Sarah Hurley, and Craig De Souza from CHA UK. I’ve been following Sarah’s career for years, and I’d been talking to both these lovely people on FB in the run up to the weekend, so it was great to meet them both. They were both so brilliant at making sure everyone was happy all weekend and that things ran smoothly (along with Sara Naumann who was organising things too, I just didn’t catch her for a photo):

Meeting Sarah Hurley and CHA Craig at CHA UK Creative Exchanges

Aside from the talks we had a few other fun activities too. There was a onesie party on Sunday night – we all had bunny rabbit onesies on! We were decorating them with fabric paints too, which turned out a bit messy as they took so long to dry. The better option was getting your name put on your onesie using the Cricut Explores that Suzie Candlin had brought along and set up on behalf of Cricut. I helped people use them when Suzie wasn’t around! Most people had their name in glitter vinyl on their onesie. Here’s a photo taken by Laura Strutt at @madepeachy:

Onesie Party at CHA UK Creative Exchanges

I had a lot of fun with Jenniffer Taylor from the Great British Sewing Bee that night, just generally being silly!

Meeting Jenniffer Taylor from The Great British Sewing Bee at CHA UK Creative Exchanges

I think she was going for a zombie-bunny look to her outfit!

A bunch of us stayed up late drinking wine and chatting some more too:

Onesie Party at CHA UK Creative Exchanges

Overall the weekend was fabulous. It was informative and enjoyable. There were a few things I didn’t like about some of the talks – eg. a couple of the speakers kept going off on tangents which were not as interesting and made me confused, and I definitely preferred the talks with powerpoint presentations to those that didn’t have them – partly because I’m a visual learner and found it easier to absorb info that way, and partly because it helped the speakers stay on topic.

The venue had both positives and negatives. The food was really good and all the staff I encountered were helpful. The conference suite was well set out with good space to move around and mingle. But there was very little natural light (hence why most of my photos are blurry), in fact some of the rooms the talks were in had no windows at all, which made me feel a bit claustraphobic. Which is probably why I had a pounding headache on day one. I don’t think there’s much that can be done about this though, I’m sure most hotel conference suites would have similar problems. Plus if you had more natural light it would make it harder to read a powerpoint screen! So I just need to take more headache tablets next time.

There were so many wonderful opportunities to meet new people, to try out and maybe win some crafty goodies, and to learn lots and lots and lots about the crafting industry and how to turn crafting into a business. Plus we all got an amazing goody bag too:

Goody Bags at CHA UK Creative Exchanges

Weren’t we lucky?!

There are so many other people I met that I haven’t mentioned yet, like Katie Skilton, Dorothy Wood, Linda Simpson, and the lovely ladies from Bella Crafts. If I’ve forgotten anyone else I’m sorry! It was great to meet everyone.

If you want to go to the next Creative Exchanges event then you can contact CHA UK. It was announced HERE that the dates for next year are the 23rd – 25th April 2016. I will hopefully be going again, I certainly want to!

If you have any questions let me know. Have you been to any blogger meet ups or events? Did you enjoy them? Would you like to go to Creative Exchanges?

Jennifer x

About Me

Where I’ve Been – Summer 2015 Recap

Hello! If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been the last few months then this post is for you!

Sorry I’ve been absent. I haven’t been doing anything dramatic or incredibly exciting. Life just became super-duper busy for a little while.

The first thing was that I started a new job in June, as a school librarian for a primary school. It’s only 9 hours a week, 3 hours each across 3 days, but those 3 days were my son’s days at nursery (pre-school), so I had less time to get things done. Also I was working a little outside of my 9 hours – because it was a new job and I wanted to make a good impression (my first job in 7 years!), but also because I found it really interesting!

Here’s where I now spend my working hours:

Jennifer Grace Creates

One of my tasks is to make it more colourful – I get to decorate! I will show you how it looks in a few months. I only work during term time so I didn’t have much time to make changes before the summer holidays… my first activity was to sort it out as everything was a bit jumbled up – they hadn’t had a librarian for a while.

On the 5th of June I attended the Dorset Team’s Etsy Craft Party in Poole, which you can see a video of below. I made the octahedron (diamond-like) garland which is hanging over the mirror behind me in the video – I used my Cricut Explore to make it but it still took ages! I will try to write up a tutorial for it at some point, as it did look bright and pretty!


I celebrated my 33rd birthday on the 24th of June, some of my friends came to join me for a picnic in the park, we played boules and sipped peach bellinis while the kids ran round the playpark:

Jennifer Grace Creates

On another day we grabbed some after-school sunshine by taking a picnic tea to the beach:

Jennifer Grace Creates

We drove up to Bedford one weekend to visit some University friends. My kids fell in love with their dog. We are now working on Daddy to convince him we need a dog. Maybe in a few years we might talk him round!

DSC_0703 (2)

I’m a member of the PTA for my daughter’s school, so one thing keeping me busy in June was preparing for our school summer fete on the first weekend in July. It’s an epic day with traditional games and rides during the day, then live music, a hog roast, and a drinks tent in the evening. I can’t show a photo of the whole field as we aren’t allowed to share photos of the school kids online, but here’s my daughter hurtling down the hill on the trolley ride. It cost 50p for 3 goes, so she had about 12 goes! It was her favourite!

Jennifer Grace Creates

Then it was cheeky boy’s 4th birthday. He got lots of Octonauts and Lego presents. Then for his party my Mum, who is a professional party clown, came and did a show:

Jennifer Grace Creates

We had a lot of Octonauts themed things – I made ‘kelp’ cakes – fairy cakes with blue icing and green sprinkles, I found some fish biscuits, and there was an Octonauts playzone of all his toys spread out on a blue blanket which we taped in one corner of the room. He was also suitably impressed with a watermelon shark, which Daddy made after Mummy found the photo on Pinterest:

Jennifer Grace Creates

The same day as his party it was also the Summer Carnival procession in our town. I am the local Rainbows leader (another thing that keeps me busy with planning and running the meetings, but also doing the admin and accounts!) – it’s a girl guiding unit for girls aged 5 – 7. So after the party I went off with my daughter to join our Rainbows unit, all of us dressed as pilgrims! The theme for the procession was ‘The Wild West’ but we decided our twist would be ‘American Settlers’. I have cropped out the background of the photo because there were lots of people behind us:

Jennifer Grace Creates

We won 1st place out of the youth groups, which isn’t a major deal as there were not that many youth groups in it, but we were very proud none-the-less! Especially as it was cold and rainy so we were pleased we’d all made it to the end!

I took part in the Summertime Surprise Project – a box swap organised by the fabulous Capture By Lucy. Except I forgot to join in with the whole sharing-it-on-instagram thing, I’ve only just shared it today. I posted my box out a few days late too, but that was because I was waiting for a handmade item to dry! It all happened around the 26th of July… if you want to check out what boxes people received you can see them on the #summertimesurpriseproject hashtag on Instagram HERE. Apparently the Autumn swap sign-ups open tomorrow, I will come back and link it when it’s live!

Here’s the fun box I received from Louise at JunkShopVenus. Check out here instagram HERE. It looks like she’s on an American adventure at the moment, lots of cool photos on her feed right now! We had to mention a few things we liked, for example I said the colour aqua, little items to stick on my cards / layouts, and the flavour lime – here’s what I received:Jennifer Grace Creates

Isn’t it awesome! I’m totally loving the box, the washi tape, and the acrylic birds in particular, but it’s all good. I was so happy when I opened it up!

Here’s the box I sent out to Louise. She’d said she liked Wonder Woman, Princess Leia, Blackbirds, Mermaids, Bags, Stationery, and Caravans. NOT florals! I couldn’t find much in the shops to match these things, so I sent her lots of handmade bits and pieces. I was particularly pleased with my wooden dolls of Wonder Woman and Princess Leia (which is what took ages to dry as I had to paint lots of layers):

Jennifer Grace Creates

At the beginning of August me and the kids went to stay with My Mum, Step-Dad, and sister. My brother and his wife & kids live in the same town too. So we spent some lovely days playing in the sunshine and going out lots – to the beach, the zoo, an outdoor swimming pool, and more! Here’s my kids with their cousins:

Jennifer Grace Creates

Here’s me and my sister being silly in Chiquitos:


In mid-August we went away camping for four nights with this crazy bunch:

Jennifer Grace Creates

It rained on a couple of the days, it was so cold at night we couldn’t sleep, the kids got all their clothes wet and muddy, and I ate too much. But boy was it fun. Their was a swimming pool at the campsite so we could go indoors and swim when it rained, the children mostly amused themselves (we only had to break up a few fights for toys), we all chilled out in a gazebo we put up in the middle of our tents – drinking wine in the evening and playing cards, and I ate a lot of good food! I hope we get to do it every year!

We were camping in Charmouth, which is a good fossil hunting beach. I didn’t find any fossils, but I did find this rock with crystals inside. I don’t know what kind of crystal it is, but it’s so sparkly (it looks better in real life), and I’ve never found anything like that on a beach before, so I was chuffed:

Jennifer Grace Creates

We had some friends down from Essex for a night, so we took them to Corfe Castle – it drizzled with rain but we still enjoyed ourselves:

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Last week we took our annual day trip to the Weymouth Sealife Centre, which is a great day out! This time they had a Lego Deep Sea Adventure for the kids to complete challenges on the way round:


Saturday was our last adventure for the summer holidays – we went back to Weymouth to go up the Jurassic Skyline tower and play Pirates Mini Golf. It drizzled again (typical English summer holidays weather) but we still had a good time:

Jennifer Grace Creates

I haven’t done hardly any crafting at all. But my In-Laws did bring me back a set of watercolours from Michaels when they went to America in July (I asked for this set after seeing Amy Tangerine use it in her You Tube videos like THIS ONE). So I’ve been experimenting with brush script and painting some more flairs and other designs…

Jennifer Grace Creates

You’ll see more of them when they are a bit more finished!

I also went to my friend Sarah’s house for a day of scrapbooking last weekend, with Lisa-Jane joining us too, and it was the first time I had scrapbooked in 3 months! It took me a while to get back into the swing of it, but once I had it felt so therapeutic to be crafting again. I shall be back tomorrow to show you my layouts I made that day. It was also lovely to catch up with my friends. We crafted from 10am – 10pm!

So that’s it, everything that’s been keeping me away from blogging since June. This week Little Miss goes back at school, and Cheeky Boy starts school full time too! I will also be back at work, but still just for 3 days, so I will have 2 days without the kids to help me get things done. I hope to get back into regular blogging. And releasing some more things in my Happy Scatter Etsy shop. I’ve also already started planning Frosty Festivities 2015!

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful few months. I’m going to try and catch up with a bit of blog reading too, so if you’ve blogged anything you’d like me to check out please leave me a link and I shall swing by!

Bye for now,

Jennifer x

About Me

My Life: May 2015 In Pictures

I’ve been missing sharing my family photos on here, so I thought I’d try to do more of that again. On the last Sunday of every month I will post pictures from that month, not loads of them, but a few of my favourites!

Here’s my May 2015 In Pictures:

My Life - May In Pictures at Jennifer Grace Creates

On the 2nd of May my brother and his wife renewed their wedding vows, which I already mentioned on my ‘Teal, Gold, & White Colour Combo’ post HERE – that post also includes a photo of my kids as best man / page boy and bridesmaid. But I wanted to share the photo of the happy couple (above) and a couple of others…

This one shows my hubby and my dad, being silly wearing the best man / page boy hats that belonged to my son and nephew:

My Life - May In Pictures at Jennifer Grace Creates

Very dapper!

This picture below is of me, my mum, my brother, and my sister – the hats and fascinators were all made by my mum who is a very talented hat maker (you can see more of her hats HERE). This was the first time I’d seen my sister in 9 months as she’s been away traveling so it was great to catch up with her:

My Life - May In Pictures at Jennifer Grace Creates

Did you spot that I’m also wearing my Seahorse Earrings!

On May the 4th we went to Corfe Castle, because they had a viking event on and my daughter is studying the vikings at school. Cheeky boy was incredibly excited about the viking ship, but disappointed that he wasn’t allowed to play on it:

Viking Ship at Corfe Castle - May 2015 In Pictures at Jennifer Grace Creates

I had won a £10 National Trust voucher when I took part in a Twitter Chat (THIS ONE with @mum_themadhouse and @munchbunchdairy) so I let the kids buy a wooden sword each from the National Trust shop, which they have begged me for before and I’ve always said they were too expensive!

My Life - May In Pictures at Jennifer Grace Creates

On the 16th of May, while my blog event was going on, I popped out to Durlston Country Park with some of the girls and families from my Rainbows unit (Girlguiding unit for girls aged 5-7 – I’m the leader-in-training). We went to sit on the hill and sketch the lighthouse as part of a badge we are working towards, and we were so lucky with the glorious sunny weather:

My Life - May In Pictures at Jennifer Grace Creates

On May 20th my daughter had a dress-up day at school, she was supposed to go as her favourite animal (to raise money for the local animal shelter). She wanted to be a snow tiger because of her favourite soft toy, a snow tiger called Salad (which I scrapped a layout about HERE).

I sat up late into the night stitching some ears and a tail, and drawing stripes onto them and an old t-shirt with a sharpie pen. Then in the morning we just added some facepaint:

My Life - May In Pictures at Jennifer Grace Creates

Finally last Friday (the 29th May) we wanted to have a day out, but it was pouring with rain in the morning. Plus we needed to get another cabinet for our kitchen (which we’ve been doing up since June last year), so we went to Ikea which the kids were happy about as they love the play area!

Then on the way back it turned really sunny, so we thought we’d pop into Bournemouth to check out the Wheels festival. By the time we got there it was 6.30pm and most things were packed up for the day. We did watch a brief bit of a skateboard / bike / rollerblade show, but the kids were not that interested. So instead we just let them play on the beach for a bit:

My Life - May In Pictures at Jennifer Grace Creates

And then they had a go on one of the rides… Cheeky Boy was excited at first but not so sure once it started going round the track:

My Life - May In Pictures at Jennifer Grace Creates

It was nice to be out for the day anyway!

What did you get up to in May? Do you like seeing my family pictures like this on my blog as well as craft projects?

Have a great day,

Jennifer x