My sister-in-law (a professional interior designer) came with me, and much to my delight – she took all of my advice and 100% prepared for CHA. In the Cano family, she is known and the high preistess of centerpieces and gift wrap. Seriously. This girl makes towering giftscapes made of graduated boxes trimmed in beads, tulle, papers and all kinds of other embellishments. She took pictures of her work, color copied them and assembled them in a thin white 8-1/2 x 11″ envelope. She set up a web site, had business cards printed and made a fact sheet about her crafty work that had been published. Perfect. Believe me, they came in handy later in the week!

After checking into our room on Saturday morning, we headed over to the convention center to check in. The show hadn’t even begun (it started Sunday) and chaos was already in place. The kind of chaos that makes your eyes twinkle and your foot tap non-stop. Imagine thousands of crazed, excited crafters under one roof. Lots of funky dyed hair, wildly decorated name badges, picture purses, embroidered jackets and everyone saying the same thing: “Yes! I made this!”

Because I was reporting for the paper and also because I had two seminars I was speaking at, I went to the press room to pick up media kits that the vendors set out. Even though I [planned to walk the entire show, there is always something I miss, and perusing the press kits helps. BTW: I plan to do an upcoming story on assembling a good press kit. But for now, all I can say, compact, concise info and colorful photos are the best way to go. Michelle and I managed to leave the grounds and head back to our hotel, The Annabella Anaheim, which I highly reccommend! It was right across the street from Disney’s California Adventure and we could hear the screams coming from the victims of the California Screamin’ roller coaster (me no like that rollercoaster!)

Later in the day, way-too-kind and totally cool Nancy Marmolejo from Comadre Coaching picked us up and drove across the city to Ventura Blvd to visit HandMade Galleries. (Handmade Galleries, Inc. 14556 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA)

This store is soooo hot. It’s like a punk rock version of (the now defunct) Coomers, with a dash of Spencer’s thrown in. And come to find out, Andie, the owner is a frequent visitor to my web site. so naturally, I signed up for a space for Patrick and I to peddle our wares. As of March 1st, we’ll have a full-on Chicano Pop Art space there! Afterwards we met up with Andie, and Nancy’s sister Katie, who happens to work at Disney. We ate at The Amazon Bar & Grill where we swapped gobs of celebrity encounters while eating fried plantains.

The next morning I had to get up at 5:30 am. My demo at Duncan Crafts began at 9 and I wanted to get there super early to set up. What I loved most about the day was getting to chat with the staff from Duncan. Did you know there are happy shiny people in dream jobs that pertain every aspect of craft supplies? I know because I met all of them. The people who actually invent, design and promote all these products!! Aside from asking them zillion questions, I spent the day showing CHA attendees how to make a Mexican Cowgirl Matchbox Shrines. Next to me, Patti Wack did a demo showing how to make altered clipboards, that were a big hit.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Duncan had these massive Shrek-sized cutouts of each of us deisgners. THat is Pattie’s up there. Are you ready to see mine?

I even met the poor guy who had to cut this out using an Exacto knife. Imagine how long it took him! This cut out is on it’s way home to me so I can freak out the kids with it!

After I finished eight hours of my demo, I spent some time prepping for my presentations that were the next morning. A bit later we went to the Martha Stewart keynote speech. I have to go now because Lily Allen is coming out on SNL in a few minutes and I don’t want to miss her. I’ll finish this up manana…

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Author of Crafty Chica’s Art de la Soul: Glittery Ideas to Liven Up Your Life ($19.95, Rayo Books, an imprint of Harper Collins).
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