Mary Louise and I are sitting at O'Hare Airport in Chicago waiting to return home (to my home anyway- M.L. returns to her home on Wednesday). We had a fab time in "the city". On Sunday we wandered downtown hitting Millenium Park. The park is home to the pavilion designed by Frank Gehry (lots of stainless steel in interesting forms). It also houses "Cloud Gate" by Anish Kapoor-- 110 tons of polished stainless steel, referred to by Chicagoans as "the bean" (thank goodness for tourist info).
Then a stroll down Michigan Avenue yielded some fun and much needed clothing finds. I don't like to shop, but I had an enthusiastic college student with me. I must be in a better mood when I visit stores in another city, because I actually found things that I liked.
The Craft & Hobby Association Show was good- a few new ribbons, some new beads, some new papers, but most importantly, some Amy Butler bags! They are from K&Company and are called "scrap booking totes", but don't think they are limited to that purpose. They are just big totes with dozens of pockets available in the two fabrics shown. I already claimed one as a diaper bag and Mary Louise has claimed one as a book bag. They will retail for $35! Delicious! I assume we'll be seeing those in 3 to 4 weeks.
American CraftsTM was launching their gift wrap line at the show, which we had already ordered, so it should start arriving any day. It is everything you like about American Crafts paper and ribbon in gift wrap- chinese take out boxes, collapsible boxes, wrapping paper, tags, etc.
The funniest thing (I guess) was the EK Success (predominately a scrap booking company) booth that is launching the Martha Stewart CraftsTM line. They devoted approximately 25% of their booth to a huge display of the craft line, which is a combination of paper crafts, paper tools, food packaging (like cupcake papers, cookie boxes) and some seasonal items. They are all in classic Martha style- very simple and elegant. I knew they were launching the line exclusively in Michaels last January, but assumed that since they were at a trade show with such a large display, it was available for purchase. Nope. The sales rep stammered and stuttered around until I finally said "Are you trying to say you can't sell this to me?". Well, yes, that is what she was trying to say. It will be available to independent retailers at some undefined point in the future. So please ignore the three 25-foot displays that you nearly tripped over when you came into the booth! The products will be available for me to sell once they are approximately 18 months old. Oh well- I'll just keep my eyes open for something else cute and clever! (Just frees up money for more cute fabric and ribbon, right?)
On Friday night, the keynote speaker at the show was Genevieve Gorder of Trading Spaces and she was wonderful! She was so enthusiastic (just plain bubbly) and had some great table setting and decorating ideas. Her approach is very practical and she really encourages you to use your own creativity and judgment to create something great that you enjoy. How can you argue with that?
Of course, M.L. and I got in some eating, sleeping and general lolly-gagging around. Running into the "Nightmare on Elm Street" convention including the movie's star was certainly an interesting side note. I've never seen the movie, yet he is very recognizable. The crowd of people following him in various horror costumes is also a big giveaway! Certainly an interesting trip. Now back to the real world.