I've never rented a car before. I've never flown from SF to LA, I've never had a media pass to anything, and I've never been to a trade show. But, I did all these things and more this weekend! Craft Test Dummies was kind enough to bring me along as part of their team, and it was such a pleasure to meet my colleagues Jenny, Sara, Angie, Vicki, and especially Haley, who I've always known would be a kindred spirit ever since I gave her a feature on ReadyMade (her first, apparently! I am so influential.) back in the day. They couldn't have been a nicer, more welcoming bunch!
I started my trip at SFO, which is actually much easier to get to than Oakland's airport without a car. When I got to the Hertz counter at LAX, they asked me if I wanted to upgrade cars for a mere $1.40. Of course! However, I wasn't ready for the ultimate beast of grandma cars I received and proceeded to drive around LA in sheer terror for the next two days. Good lord! I'll stick with the Yaris next time. I had a snack with my friend Lisa at her charming Inglewood bungalow, then I drove in horrifying rush-hour Friday traffic to Crystal's. I wound down in the only way possible: eating pasta carbonara, petting Strudel, and watching Liz & Dick.
On Saturday I met my team and Haley showed me the lay of the land. As a trade show newbie, I was blown away by the sheer hugeness of the show floor and booths. It was epic! Any craft supply you've ever seen in any store was represented on a grand scale: scrapbooking, yarn, beads, buttons, crochet needles, books, model trains, resin, stamps, and more scrapbooking (laydeez love scrapbooking!).
However, I got comfortable real quick. Here I am laying down in a van at the I Love to Create booth.
Every time I turned around, there was a crafty hero in my sights! I finally met the Crafty Chica, who, of course, is as warm and wonderful in real life as she is on the internets, and gave her the bear hug I'd been threatening her with. She not only made this photo backdrop but gladly posed in it with us!
The layman may not know that Vanna White is the face of Lion Brand's popular Vanna's Choice yarn. Well, SHE IS, and she totally showed up at the Lion Brand fashion show to talk about the styles on display. Call me cynical, but I was pretty surprised to see some great patterns, modern colorways, and cute clothes on the runway! I especially loved the log cabin shawl on the bottom right. Go Vanna!
Some scrapbooking sweetness above.
The Simplicity booth had some great retro magazine covers and this Anne of Green Gables-y dress. If I teach school again, I'm totally wearing this dress every time so the children will respect my authoritay.
Pleasant surprises included how great Haley and I look when photographed together, how a show like this involved absolutely zero hipster pretense, any bad vibes replaced with a true love for creativity and craft, and the foot slippers pictured above.
I got real punchy with my buds Radmegan and Ava in the Creativebug booth. I know I was there to scout out product and rep CTD, but I kept getting distracted by all the great people. I did get serious on the second day and came home with a suitcase full of goods to review!
Here's Gretchen "Gertie" Hirsch, who is radiant, talented, and has the most perfect porcelain skin I've even seen in person. She signed a copy of her book, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing for me, and even though I made a mean joke about selling it on eBay, I'm truly looking forward to learning how to sew some clothes for the first time ever!
I'm leaving out a million things, but I had to share my two-day whirlwind before I forget everything and settle back into my boring old life (jkjkjklol)! CHA was inspirational, informative, and seriously fun. I'm gonna weasel my way in there for many years to come!