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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More from CHA

Deborah Norville inspired the knitting crowd with a few pointers and the introduction of more new yarns from her collection. (Find the yarn line created for Deborah by Premier Yarns at theleisureboutique.com) It’s great! Her book , Knit with Deborah Norville, was broadly displayed & eagerly received by the crowd. You can find a great variety of classic projects in it to inspire your next knitting project. Be sure & take a look. Already tried one of her patterns? Let us know what you’ve knitted.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Leisure Arts at CHA

The Craft & Hobby Association trade show is underway this week in Anaheim, California, which means excitement for crafters and needleworkers everywhere. Designers, manufacturers, and publishers come together to introduce new products and ideas that are sure to keep the creative juices flowing. Many of them are already available in stores and on websites that are quick to get the latest in front of you.

A few fun highlights:

Our editor, Susan Sullivan, participated in the consumer show as part of the Craft Yarn Council of America team. All around the booth, demonstrators were showing all kinds of things you can do with yarn, including teaching the obvious things you can – knit and crochet! The crowd was loving it. Susan entertained the imagination by showing how you can dye your own yarn with kool-aid! That’s right …kool-aid...it makes such beautiful colors and it’s oh, so easy. Click here for your how-to and join in the fun. (Note: Kids will love doing this with you.)

One of our very favorite designers is Mary Taylor – that’s “Out of the Box with Everything Mary” – whom you may know from her videos on Crochetsoiree.com. She had a colorful booth chock full of super bags and organizers that she designed. As you can see, her ‘make it & take it’ was quite a hit. There was a whole lot of embellishing going on. You can start with a tote bag just like your neighbors, but with an idea or two from Mary - you’re sure to end up with something that’s everything you.

More highlights to come soon. Only two more days and lots to see and share.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Christmas at Good Morning America

When my publicist Inna Shamis told me back in November to clear my calendar and save the date for an appearance on Good Morning America, I could hardly believe my ears. I had never even been on local tv before and live national tv in front of millions of people a few days before Christmas was hardly the way I imagined making my television debut.

Now Inna knows better than anyone that our budget is super tight with no room for ANY extraneous expenses. So when she strongly recommended hiring a media coach, I reluctantly listened and went for a morning of coaching with former MTV casting director Amanda Schatz Kitaeff. Boy am I glad I did. “More snap!”, she ordered. “Too serious! Smile like you’re on a third date.”, she chided. I felt like I walked away from that session with precious gems of media wisdom and felt ready for some real practice. With just under 2 months to prepare for GMA, Inna and I shifted into high gear and got bookings on no fewer than 5 local tv shows so I’d have plenty of practice before D-Day.

D-Week finally arrived and I was told I needed to be in the ABC studio at 5:30am for my 8:30 segment. That didn’t sound too bad until I started to count backward to what that meant in terms of the alarm clock. Figuring an hour and a half for driving and parking in NYC and an hour to get ready, that meant that I had to be up at 3am! Plus we were having snow forecasts throughout the week which could mean treacherous driving conditions. I was talking this over with my sister Sarah and we started brainstorming ways I might avoid looking like a zombie when I finally went on the air. The next morning, she called me breathlessly and told me she had a great idea. As a Christmas gift, she was going to put me up at the Westin Hotel in Times Square! That meant an extra hour and a half of sleep plus no bad weather worries. Aren’t sisters the BEST?

I had been to Times Square many times before, but driving past the ABC building the night before D-Day, knowing that I was going to be on those massive tv screens the next morning, was both absolutely thrilling and completely intimidating. I took a deep breath and decided to trust the pros at GMA. If they thought I could do it, then they must be right! I said a little prayer and then headed off to 32nd St. with my family for dinner at Kunjip, our all time favorite Korean restaurant. We finished off the night with some Pinkberry fro yo which was right next door, then said our goodbyes as my husband whisked our boys home for school the next day and I headed for the hotel to get some sleep.

The next day I arrived at ABC studios at 5:30am sharp with my big pink suitcase full of props. After checking in with security, I was led to the green room which was nicely supplied with breakfast goodies and plenty of hot coffee. At about 5:45 I got a call from Darcy, the amazing producer who booked me on the show. She sounded nervous and asked me where I was. Someone apparently forgot to tell her I had arrived and she was worried that I hadn’t shown up! She met me in the green room and led me to the hair and makeup ladies who were wonderful and soon had me perfectly coiffed and all decked out in falsies (eyelashes that is!). They even matched my lipgloss with my bright pink vest, a purchase inspired by Amanda’s advice to “dress more fabulous!”.

Next was set up and rehearsal with a short briefing with my host Sam Champion. In case you’re wondering, yes, he is every bit the charming Southern gentleman he is on tv and boy, is he ever handsome! There were a ton of people in the studio with the audience in the background and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir set up on the other side of the room. Right next to my table was the Food Network star Sarah Moulton with her selection of great holiday cookbooks. Still the atmosphere was relaxed and the crew and cast just seemed to go with the flow.

After a few last minutes touch ups to the table display, I was as ready as I would ever be. I took a few deep breaths to relax and get the jitters out and before long Sam was segueing out of one story and into mine. We were live! My book, The Wrapping Scarf Revolution, was having its close-up and we started talking and wrapping and bantering. This was the first time Sam had wrapped with fabric and it would have been a disaster if his demo came out terrible. He didn’t falter for a moment and wrapped like a champion (sorry I couldn’t resist!). After a commercial break, Sam was sweet enough to highlight my stuff one more time.

When the show was over at 9am, I got to mingle with the cast a bit and even met Ali Wentworth, the hilarious comedienne wife of George Stephanopoulos. I had met JuJu Chang at an event a couple of months back but was so happy to be able to congratulate her in person for landing her new job on GMA.

After the show, I got a call from my office with news that The Wrapping Scarf Revolution had immediately sold out on Amazon and the ranking had shot up to #2 in the Craft/Papercraft section. In fact, the book kept selling despite not being in stock and it took Amazon nearly 2 weeks to get it back in stock. I took that as proof that the segment was indeed a small success and am so excited to hopefully take my little wrapping scarf revolution to other shows in the new year. Did any of you happen to catch the show? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Trade Shows and Warmer Weather too!

California, here we come! Twice this month we’ll make our way to the west coast. The TNNA trade show is taking place January 9th – 11th in Long Beach. The CHA trade show will take place from January 24th – 27th in Anaheim. There is also a consumer show in Anaheim on January 22nd & 23rd, so there’s something for everyone, whether you’re shopping for yourself or buying for your retail business.

We’ve been busy packing up to go. The halls have been lined with books, posters and more to ship and we just can’t wait to share all of the exciting new products. (We’re also okay with heading west for a little bit of warm weather too; it’s cold and snowing here.)

The highly anticipated Encyclopedia of Sewing by the Kooler Design Studio will make its debut. It’s the fifth book in the popular needlework encyclopedia series published by Leisure Arts. The 240 page book is filled with the history of sewing, basic techniques, custom details, quilting, embellishments, and more. This book is a required addition to every sewing library.

Terrie Lee Steinmeyer, one of today’s most talented cross stitch designers introduces a super collection of over 140 designs for all occasions in The Best of Terri Lee Steinmeyer. We’ve published Terrie’s designs since 1985; her first leaflet (number 402), More Than Samplers, was a best seller and many more have followed. Her new book is sure to be another favorite.

Get ready to play and learn some new tricks from some of the hippest scrapbookers in the biz. Creating Keepsakes 2007 Scrapbooker of the Year, Elizabeth Kartchner, has assembled an all-star cast of innovative designers in 52 More Scrapbooking Challenges. This book is packed with inspiring ideas!

CrochetWear brings a terrific collection of crochet garments that will appeal to the urban woman and the rest of the world. The 25 classic fashions are crocheted in yarns from chunky to light-weight.

We hope to see you at TNNA and CHA. If you can’t make it, be sure and check our website for a full review of everything from the comfort of home. We’ll share all the excitement this month right here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Little Heartfelt Things, Big Smiles

Getting ready for Christmas meant the usual shopping frenzy - making the lists and checking them twice. And once everything was accounted for I threw myself into the wrapping marathon. There are some parts of that activity that I really like to do, some I confess I don’t. I like ribbons of all kinds, so bow-making ranks on the “like” list. Making individual gift tags also goes on the “like” list. No pre-made tags for me; it’s so much more fun to pull out the papers and pens and make personal ones. It’s quick, easy and importantly, relaxing to grab some creative time in the middle of all the hustle and bustle.

Once all of the papers, trims & other craft supplies were out and strewn everywhere, I was inspired to do more with it all. So, at the last minute I decided to create a mini-album for 3 young nieces and a daughter. I didn’t have a grand plan, I just jumped in. They turned out to be quite a hit. It was great seeing their delight in receiving little gifts made especially for them. I really think I’m the one who received the greatest gift - the time spent. Going through photos to find shots that could be used meant reflecting on each of them. Cutting and gluing, figuring out what could be done with little snippets of left over ribbons, brads and what have you was some of the best holiday time for me -- just thinking about the special people in our lives and doing something special for them.

It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate, it doesn’t have to be a museum quality work of art …it needs only to be a little heartfelt thing, handmade by you and big smiles and hugs will come your way!

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