CHA Mega Show 2015 - Part Two

Following on from yesterday! After my first tour of the show, it was time to head off to a party! Create & Craft were launching Create & Craft USA with a cocktail night and I popped along to hear all about it and catch up with some friends!
As I had to be up early the following morning for the Designer Section Meeting I sneaked out a little bit early and head back to my room with a big bottle of Gatorade (all the aircon and talking means you pretty soon lose your voice!) I had to take a picture of the label of my bottle of Gatorade fruit punch - notice NO actual fruit juice in that giant bottle of Fruit Punch - I LOVE America!
The following morning I headed off to the Designer Section meeting with Craig from CHA UK to see what the Designers from CHA do in America, I met some great people and it was so interesting to see how it works in the US - we're only just starting to implement our Designer section here in the UK - exciting times!! 
*exciting news alert* I then had a meeting with one of my favourite companies in the scrapbooking industry, this has been planned for a while and I was super nervous and excited - I can't say anything just yet as it's very early days but what I will tell you is that the people I met with said that they thought I was 'extremely talented' and have asked me to put together some sample ranges for them!!! It's super early days but I'm so excited to have this opportunity - watch this space!! I was then a tiny bit naughty and before my next meeting of the day I decided to celebrate this good news, I headed back to my hotel room, put my PJ's on, turned the aircon up full blast (did I mention I like VERY cold rooms?) and ordered myself a proper American burger, fries and a shake from room service... 
I then spent the next hour in bed watching a basketball game and devouring it - and YES, it was AMAZE!!! I'd fly back just for that burger... 

Anywhoo... after making myself look human again, I head back to the show and my next meeting of the day with DCWV, we spent some time going through the new products before I was gifted a lovely box of goodies (so lucky!) My absolute fave was these mirror icons, expect to see them on my blog very soon!!
I then managed a quick trip to get some cheesy souvenirs before afternoon tea at the CHA International pavilion - it's very difficult to get a good cup of Earl Grey in the US so I made sure I was at that pavilion every afternoon at 3pm sharp for my two cups of earl grey! and some networking of course...

After the excitement of the day I took a minute, as it was my last night in L.A., to spend some time sitting in the warm evening breeze watching the waterfall outside the convention centre...
That was where my friend, mentor and fellow CHA UK Board Director, Carolyn, found me half an hour later, she invited me to dinner with some fabulous girls and we hit a wonderful restaurant just up the road from our hotels that had the most wonderful pie! (and spicy shrimp and avocado salad - yum!) I almost finished this one - it's so hard to finish a meal there!
Then came probably the BEST bit of my whole trip (and I'm only half joking) the girls, all Americans, couldn't believe I'd never been to Target, so they took me across the parking lot to this huge Target store, it was AMAZE! I did go a bit 'supermarket sweep' in there, put it this way, the giant suitcase I bought especially for the trip was overweight on the way home and I only JUST had room for everything I brought back - it was love!
The following morning I had just enough time to go and do my seminar on Creative Blogging, it was so fun to get to speak to an amazing group of ladies and I got SO much fabulous feedback on my talk that I was over the moon, one lady even said it was the best seminar she had been too - and it was only my second time! eeek! so fun! Then I had just enough time to go and say a quick goodbye to everyone before hopping on a shuttle back to the airport and another 11 hour flight back to London.

I so LOVED my trip, I can't wait to go back and until then, I brought back this little piece of America...
Thank you for dropping by today!
Sarah x

CHA Mega Show 2015! - Part One

Today I want to tell you all about my recent trip to L.A. for the CHA Mega Show. As there is so much to tell and so many pics, I've divided it into two halves, here is part one...
This was my first visit so I was VERY excited, but I was also going alone and doing a seminar so I was also VERY nervous! After an 11 hour flight, I arrived late in the evening, the block party was in full swing but after a long flight and shuttle ride to my hotel I was just too tired - I climbed into bed with a pack of Fig Newtons and a big glass of water and went to sleep - bliss! The following morning I awoke to the sun shining on this beautiful view...
I had a quick breakfast with my friend and fellow CHA UK Board Director Mark (look how HUGE this plate of French Toast was!! I just about managed one slice!) 
Then we headed off to my first day at the show - this was my walk each morning to the convention centre - it was a lovely start to the day! 
 Crowds had already started to gather, even about 40 minutes before the show opened!
As well as lots of meetings I had planned I was acting reporter for Papercraft Inspirations magazine so I took a quick circuit around the show to snap some pictures of the new releases for them. Here are a few of my faves - the Heidi Swapp booth was glittery, shiny, gorgeous...
I fell in love with these acetate journaling cards at WRMK...
I spent the longest time with the lovely people at American Crafts being shown the new lines for American Crafts / Crate Paper... 
Before being shown the new Project Life kits including this one 'Inspire' that I just can't stop thinking about - I NEED it NOW! (may have stamped my foot... lol) 
Then I headed off to speak to the lovely Heidi of Chickaniddy - she gets better with every range and this was no different, gorgeous papers, lovely foil paper that die cuts perfectly and the most amazing stamps and enamel shapes - gimme gimme gimme!!

Thats all for today, please check back tomorrow for part 2, some of my favourite parts of the trip and some exciting news I get to (kind of!) share...

Thanks for dropping by today!
Sarah x

Scrapbooking with Studio Calico - Pink & Glitter for Boys

Today I'm sharing a layout I made a couple of weeks back - I finally got to dig into a couple of my recent Studio Calico Kits (yay!) and scrapbook this sweet picture of my nephew. I must admit, until my nephew came along all of my scrapbooking was pretty girly, I've since bought a few 'boy' collections to try and better scrap his pictures but I find it harder to make it flow somehow and have to work a little harder at pulling the pages together. Anyhow, this time I had the papers in mind I wanted to use which were pink and glittery, even though the picture is not girly at all I think I pulled it off OK!
I used a strip of this triangle paper from Crate Paper's 'Notes and Things' collection down the centre, there is another strip of a text paper underneath, this was from a Studio Calico kit and is actually place names which make no sense to the story of the picture, however, I thought it would toughen up the pink a little so I put just a hint peeking out so you can't see the text - it gives a graffiti kind of look!
The other side is a strip of gold dots paper from MME for a hint of metallic and I've used these grey rubber Thickers also from a Studio Calico kit - I had to adjust the 'K' slightly to allow for the tail of the 'Y' but being so flexible it was super simple to do - you couldn't do that with cardboard letter stickers!

The embellishments used are from Studio Calico Kits and a recent Simple Stories collection - the bright colours really pulled everything together - and I used some gold glitter and black and white chevron washi tape to accent the paper layers.
I finished it with these vellum leaves tucked under the picture and just a couple of gold sequins...
So there you have, my take on a boy layout with Pink, Sequins, Glitter and Hearts but without being too girly! I think the geometric shapes and painter / graffiti style text of the papers really helped and I'm super in love with those Thickers (I'm always chopping mine up to make them do what I want!) so I'll definitely be needing more - I'm off to CHA tomorrow so I hope to spot some of those in lots of other colours, will keep you posted!!

Thank you for dropping by today - I'm off to pack now, eeeeek!
Sarah x

Exciting News! Introducing ShinHan...

Today I get to share some super exciting news! (good start to the New Year!) as you may have already seen if you follow CHA UK on Twitter or read the CHA UK website regularly, it has just been announced that I have been appointed the UK Brand Ambassador for ShinHan Art - the leading manufacturer and distributor of art materials in Korea (including some truly fabulous markers - I can't wait to show you! - and a wide range of paints and mediums). Here is a little peek at what is to come...
I'll be using all of my illustration, craft and previous colouring in experience to show you lots and lots of projects, tips and techniques using the whole range of products (probably starting with markers though, you know how I love my pens!!)

We are currently working on establishing the UK team and getting lots of content and things set up so you will be seeing more about this in a couple of weeks time once all that behind the scenes stuff has been completed (I'll share some peeks as we go though!) and I'll be showing you all of the products in much more detail - I just know you'll love them as much as I do!

You can read the full press release here on my website. 

Thank you for dropping by today and sharing in the exciting news!
Sarah x

Happy New Year! 2014 in Review...

With 2014 gone, I'm very pleased to welcome in 2015. Last year was a real rollercoaster of a year for me, there was really no down time and it was either massive highs or massive lows leaving me feeling a bit emotionally and physically wrung out come Christmas, especially after following what was one of the best years of my life in 2013. I spent the festive period disconnecting, resting, sleeping, grieving and just generally repairing myself, making myself stronger ready for next year.

2014 will be the year I remember as the year I...

* Took my product range from around 400 products to over 700 at last count, expanding into toys, bakeware, stationery and more
* Grew my company by almost 500% once again, I had thought this year would be quieter, apparently not! I don't think I'm programmed for quiet and laid back somehow...
* Launched lots of new product ranges including the World of Imagination, Charm Street Cuties and Dollybelles - you'll be seeing more of all of these this year!
* Won an award for my first ever toy just weeks after it's launch, it was also shortlisted for another prestigious award in association with John Lewis and was featured in the notonthehighstreet Christmas catalogue.
* Won a Spirit of Small Business Award acknowledging how far my business has come in just four years (I still can't quite believe it!) and appeared in a national newspaper
* Was appointed to the Board of Directors for CHA UK
* Launched our YouTube channel with a tour of Hurley HQ
* Did my first ever public speaking engagement at the CHA UK One Big Show (shortly followed by my second and third!)
* Exhibited at our first Trade Show - Top Drawer London and booked again for this year - yay!
* Had this quote sent to me by SO many people that it seemed to be everywhere I looked, it definitely kept me strong through some tough times.
* On a personal note, we lost my Dad, suddenly, unexpectedly, heartbreakingly, my Dad's loss overshadowed the whole year for me, with no time to grieve I was back on TV just a few days later (as he would have wanted) I coped the only way I know how, by throwing myself into my work, something where I feel in control, and keeping the faith.
* Spent all of my free time creating, drawing, writing, making, the results of which you'll see over the course of the next year or two...
* Collaborated with some fantastic companies including Freckled Fawn, DCWV, Filofax...
and Collectif London (who I'm continuing to be an ambassador for this year - yay!)
* Agreed and signed the biggest deal of my life in a Minnie Mouse onesie... (although I've already mentioned this a little bit, there will more about that next year too *wink*)
* Booked my first trip to the CHA Mega Show (next week - eeeeek!) and another public speaking engagement as I do my Creative Blogging seminar that I first done at the One Big Show, at the Mega Show for a bigger audience (there is still time to book here if you're attending!)
* Rediscovered my love of this geeky Harry Potter Game (I taught B to play so I'd have an opponent!) got some time to play with Lego (yay!) and snuggle this little snuggle buggle (I can't leave Fuzzybutt out of my round up as she spends every day by my side!)
Last year I chose a 'One Little Word' which was Sparkle, if I'm honest I'm not sure I managed it, I certainly didn't feel very sparkly at the end of it. This year I'm not sure I have a word, I do however have a plan (a big one!), goals and a direction, I've managed to change my life completely in the last four years and I've not finished yet! So for the year ahead, rather than a word, I'll be living by this...
Whenever you try to achieve something, there will always be doubters, haters, people who try and knock you back down (usually because they are scared you might actually do it, or because they are too unmotivated or scared to follow their own dreams - it's easier to criticise or laugh at someone else's!) I'd like to thank each and every one of them, their doubt, their laughter, their horrible  comments have all kept me going during the darkest of times and I'm very proud to be proving them wrong, while they focus on what I'm doing, I'm focusing on my dreams. (Please feel free to right click and save this quote as your desktop as a reminder to keep going for your dreams in 2015!)

Of course none of this would be possible without B (and Fuzzybutt!), my family, friends and team who keep me sane(ish), make me tea, wipe my tears and celebrate our successes and all of you for your support reading this blog, leaving me messages and comments here and on social media, visiting my website, buying my products and accompanying me on this journey, I love each and every one of you *mwah!* now lets put the kettle on and see what the year ahead has in store... 

Thank you for dropping by today!
Sarah x