Creativation, formerly known as CHA (Craft & Hobby Association), was held in Phoenix a few weeks ago. I've been to the show every year for the past handful of years but this year was from a new perspective as I was invited to teach in Graphic 45's first in-booth class. Classes are always offered at the show, but typically in classrooms away from the show floor. This year, Graphic 45 wanted to test out a 12-student mini-class right in the showroom booth as an added offering to retailers. Today, I thought I'd share a bit of my experience with you.
I always arrive at the show the Thursday beforehand, leaving plenty of time to meet with friends for dinner and to wrap up some loose ends on Friday before the show starts. My hotel roomie Linda Ledbetter and I met up with Graphic 45 gals Ginger Ropp and Maggi Harding. The two I'm doing the Creative Mountain Retreat with in October, so of course we had lots to talk about. We usually talk via Skype, so it was great to actually meet in the flesh. And the dinner was delicious!
Friday morning, after coffee, I headed over to the showroom floor to the Graphic 45 booth to deliver my samples and do some last-minute preparations for my in-booth class. It's a crazy scene on Friday because EVERYONE from every booth is setting up. This is how things looked when I walked into the G45 booth. They take hours and hours to set up and it's fabulous when they are finished.
Friday evening was the New Product Showcase which needs little explanation. It's a great time to mingle with others, grab a cocktail and get a glimpse at some of the hottest new releases.
Although I didn't snap this photo myself (I grabbed it off Instagram) I just had to share. David Tutera has partnered with Sizzix and was debuting his new wedding-themed dies and accessories. You can check them out here. My daughter Jamie and I use to watch his show all the time, so I made sure to send her this photo. She flipped!
Finally Saturday was here and I was ready. Since the Graphic 45 family always dresses to highlight a specific paper collection each day of the show, I was thrilled to be able to join in too! First up was Midnight Masquerade. Jamie and I did a little thrift store shopping when she was home for the holidays and we picked out some pieces for the show together. I did some tailoring and adorning for my outfits. What fun this was.
From the time I got to the booth and taught four classes back to back all day, it was all a blur and absolutely a thrill! No time for a single photo, but the classes went smoothly and I met a bunch of great people.
Sunday's theme was Portrait of a Lady. Graphic 45er Maggi Harding was working in the Petaloo booth, so she was a busy girl too. We snapped this quickie before all the excitement began.
The outfits the Graphic 45 family are so beautiful and perfect. They layer and accessorize, and look absolutely stunning. Here Charee is chatting before the show.
Charee's brother Jeff and sister Aimee are pretty casual before the floodgates open for the day.
And there's sweet Joanna Hardy, who was just as beautiful as can be in her gorgeous attire.
I can't even describe to you how lovely Graphic 45 creator (and Mom to Charee, Jeff and Aimee) Diane Schultz looked in person. I had to have my photo with her. Her layers, her jewelry, her hat... she was perfect! And such a warm and genuine person she is.
I can't wait for Portrait of a Lady to arrive in your stores. You all are going to LOVE this collection. The booth was just fantastic down to every single small detail.
Sunday evening was such a JOY. The entire Graphic 45 team, including family, designers and ambassadors had dinner together. It was so great to see Yumi again, and to meet Magda and Kaitlyn in person, and of course to have a chance to chat with Charee, Jeff, Aimee and Diane.
I had to grab a quick group selfie just for fun before everyone went back to their hotels for the night. The lighting is terrible, but I'm happy I got this fun shot.
Finally on Monday, I was able to walk the showroom floor to check things out for myself. This is the best day because many people have already gone home and it's not as busy. And I get the chance to visit with people and get some photos. Like this one with Heidi Swapp, who always inspires.
And I was happy to see Tim Holtz was still doing demo's in the Ranger booth because I really needed to see those new Distress Oxides in action for myself. Guess what? Yep, I ordered all of them.
I'm trying hard not to giggle too much here. Tim was goofing around while taking this. (We had to take a few.) I stopped taking photos after that and just enjoyed walking the floor with Maggi and placing my orders. It was quite different than in year's past where I took a ton of photos. But teaching in the Graphic 45 booth was a thrill and I would do it again in a heartbeat if they asked me.
And just like that, the show was over. I returned home to Paul and Suki on Tuesday after a fantastic time in Phoenix. I booked many teaching gigs all over and my 2017 calendar is now full! (Stay tuned for info on that soon.)
Thanks for stopping in today. I can't wait to continue on my creative journey this year and share it with you.