Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Crafty Chica Products REVIEW PART 1



As you all MUST know by now, my pal, partner in Crayola-like hair color, awesome chick and creator of the Crafty Chica "brand," Kathy Cano-Murillo is out on the road pimpin' her brand spankin' new craft supply line (created by her at Duncan)! If this is news to you, check out the schedule for the Spread the Sparkle Tour going on NOW in select Arizona Michaels stores - soon to come to CA!

And, of course, if you don't live out here in the wild west where the live appearances are happening, there are still about 150 Michaels stores in quite a few states that are also part of Michaels "Crafty Chica pilot program." This testing-the-waters program runs until the end of October so Michaels can see if their customers want these glittery supplies enough for the store to carry them as part of their regular stock! Therefore, if you CAN get to a Michaels for your stuff, please do, so that ALL of us can run down to our neighborhood craft supply store soon whenever we need a Chica supply fix.

Anyway, I headed out to my "local" Michaels (cough cough!! about 30 miles away - luckily I added it to another trip), and gleefully found a colorful end cap loaded with all kinds of goodies:
Crafty Chica - Sactown!
As my pal Michele put it (and even with my bad camera-phone pic), stuff around the Crafty Chica displays looks drab by comparison! Wondering why, exactly? It's not just the wild colors and the pretty products themselves, it's the PACKAGING too. Instead of just using plastic clamshells (I hate those, by the way), Kathy and Patrick researched and designed something that you'd expect to find wrapped around some high-end face care products or pretty eye shadows. As much attention to detail and creativity went into designing those boxes as the supplies and kits themselves (so don't throw 'em out - they're "ephemera!").

Once I finished my happy-craft-store dance (and called Yoli to share), I got to work deciding what I wanted most. Like everyone else hit by the economy, I'm on a strict budget for art & craft items at the moment. However, I still managed to come home with quite an armload and without feeling deprived, since everything is really, REALLY reasonably priced.

Here are my thoughts on the products I either purchased today, have from other "sources" and/or got to play with or make on the Crafty Chica Cruise in March:

TODAY'S PURCHASES

Glitter
overview: These glitters are uniquely vibrant because they were painstakingly hand-blended by Kathy, and they're super-high quality because they're manufactured by Duncan. By using slight hue & shade variations in each color, Kathy has achieved glitters with a richness and depth that others just can't match. I like that they are ultra fine so that you get a lot of sparkly surface area while only using a small amount of glitter. Oh, and did I mention that they're washable? Yeah, the color won't come off in the wash leaving you with what looks like foil shavings stuck to your clothes! At around $3 each, you'd be loco to pass these by.

why I like 'em: After eschewing the chunky, fading kid-stuff I find all over the garage from the Christmas stockings, I became a glitter convert on the cruise thanks to Yoli (of Sacred Snatch Designs), Kathy and my pal Alisa. Though you still won't find as much shiny-ness in my work as in Yoli or Kathy's, I never thought I'd have another jar of loose glitter ... EVER AGAIN. I was clearly mistaken.


I purchased 5 colors (pictured left to right): Bollywood Blue, Glamor Queen Green, Goddess Gold, Sunset Pink and Frida's Fuschia. I already had Popstar Purple, Be-Bop Black and Sci-Fi Silver (not shown) at home, which is the ONLY reason I didn't greedily stuff those into my basket those too. My personal favorites are the purple and silver because they're holographic (how awesome is that?), then Bollywood Blue because it's the first glitter of that AMAZING shade I've ever seen. I can't wait to do something with that blue and the fuschia together (ooh, and some green too)! Why I walked out without the Nova Blue (not shown) is beyond me, but I'll rectify that soon enough.

tip:
The Rockabilly Ruby (not shown) mixed with the gold makes an AWESOME flamey color!

what I wish for: a pretty snowy-sugary white (for sugar skulls).


and now on to the paper goods...

My Crafty Chica ephemera "haul" from Michaels

Lotería Game

overview: The cards are high quality with a nice semi-gloss finish so they'll hold up better for longer than most of these games -- should you actually play with it instead of cutting it up and gluing it to stuff (with glitter, of course). Each game comes with 18 player cards ("tablas") featuring 16 pictures in a 4x4 arrangement, and one deck of cards featuring one of each image for the caller. The game is played pretty much like Bingo - just with pictures instead of numbers and cards instead of ping-pong balls in a basket.

why I like it: I'm a collector of these quirky Mexican picture-bingo games which are traditionally played with bottlecaps or dried pinto beans. I have about 6 versions so far, and I LOVE Kathy and Patrick's. Not only have they offered us their version of Lotería standards like La Dama, La Calavera, La Sirena, El Cotorro and El Corazon, we get new figures and items like La Super-Estrella, La Artista, La Bolsa, La Margarita and lots more - making 52 different images in total (personally, I love El Gato, 'cause he looks a bit like my orange kitty). Oh, and the reverse of the player cards have a beautiful rose in red on a white background.

what I wish for: online purchasability or time to move forward so I could stock up


Mojito Papers:

overview: Affordable papers with bright, colorful and 'Mexified' designs (2 each of 10 designs). Each sheet is 5” x 8.5” (about a 1/2 sheet of printer paper).

why I like 'em:
For a mere $5 (or a penny less if you want to get technical), you can get 20 awesome sheets of paper, with totally custom/unique designs for mixed media, collage or whatever. The papers have a nice heft without being heavy, and also have a satin coating which is great for folks like me who like to layer and layer and layer the gel medium - these are not going to fall apart! And let's face it - it ain't easy finding Dia de los Muertos and similarly themed papers in your corner scrapbooking store!

what I wish for: more, More, MORE (and bigger)



READ PART 2 OF THE CRAFTY CHICA REVIEWS NOW, for reviews on:
  • Glossy Gloss Varnish
  • Inspriation Cards
  • Crafty Chica paints!

THEN, STAY TUNED FOR ...


Chica Workshops (now available "in a box!"):
  • The Crafty Chica Collection (book, also available at the Crafty Chica display at select Michaels)
  • Market Tote (now in canvas!)
  • Collage Journal
  • Empowerment Shrine
  • Empowerment Guardian