Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Already late

 "The future started yesterday
And we're already late" - John Legend

I did learn a lot at GreenBiz17. Some folks are trying hard. Is the stent robust enough to let necessary sustainability measures get past the blockages? Many businesses are committed and spoke at GreenBiz17. The pace of plenary sessions was rapid with 15-minute topics, one after the other. There were longer breakout sessions for a more in-depth and experiential exploration of a subject.

I was very impressed with the biomimicry hike in the Tom Thumb area. Breath-taking scenery and a few teaching moments where function and form illustrated business principles. Another highlight for me was the presentation by Kara Hurst, director of global sustainability and social responsibility at Amazon. Packaging for the on-line market vs. the retail store presents several new challenges. Ideas and innovations include shipping a known container, prep-free packaging, and everyone's favorite - frustration-free packaging. E-shopping needs are different from shelf needs at a retail location. Of course, both sites want to reduce waste, protect the product from damage and have an easy to open package that is recyclable. Another highlight was the student presentations of innovations in technology and the younger grade school presentations on cities of the future. They give me hope in our youth. It is too bad, as the song says, that we are already late.

Phoenix was doubly great because it meant visits with family.

I'm excited to be going to Florida to get away from the rain. Yes, even in Phoenix, there was rain. I'm even more excited to be able to learn more about podcasting. One does learn by doing, but a little expert advice can be helpful!
Only back from Phoenix for just a couple of days and then I'm off to Orlando and Podfest.  When people ask me what I do, I often say, "It's a story." Of course, I could just reply, "A dedicated life-long learner and storyteller." From craft and hobby products and ideas to sustainable business and then podcasting, it's a complicated life. In my opinion being interested makes one interesting.

Thanks to everyone who listens to A Creative Approach Podcast.  Become a member of the Facebook group and send feedback. Reviews at your favorite podcast directory are welcome, too. A Creative Approach Podcast is now available on Stitcher as well as iTunes.
For now, that is all.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Travels, AFCI (CHA) Highlights, Sustainability, Podcasting

Travel seems to be on the agenda.  Above are some night and day views of San Francisco. Cal, of course, through all the years I worked as a physician, and I did all that overnight call, is used to my occasional absences. He does come along, sometimes; though, I must say, that means eating out a bit more. My usual plan is to stay away from high carbohydrate, high-fat food. (Yes, I do miss Crispy Creme!) I've been trying sparkling water as a substitute for cocktails, and I am usually successful at avoiding dessert. I must confess that I do not achieve perfection. Nonetheless, despite being on the go, I am gradually losing the pounds I put on over Christmas. I do try to have high-protein, low-calorie meal substitutes on hand when I travel, just like at home. Sparkpeople.com is my method of keeping track of my nutrition and calories, and the Spark Coach option helps me stay motivated when I need to miss my weekly weight management meetings. It is a constant struggle to stay healthy, especially when one's movement is restricted. I envy those who can "work off the pounds."

I have not been too far afield since my November trips to the Pacific Northwest and Calgary. I did go to CHA (Craft&Hobby Association), now AFCI (Association for Creative Industries), in Phoenix and made several trips to San Francisco.  When I can travel by train and enjoy the views, like the view above, it's a great trip. I did have an unhappy travel experience on my Southwest Airlines trip to Phoenix which did not ruin that one but made me very disappointed. One of my bags did not arrive, and when I finally got it, items were missing. An unopened bottle of Chanel, Allure eau de toilette, a heavy duty iPhone fire cord and a handful of Ghiradelli chocolate covered caramel squares. The thief left with two which was good for my diet, though I was going to ration my treats over my stay. So much for a "two free bags" policy. That was an expensive loss! Another trip to Arizona is on the horizon, and then I'll be off to Orlando.
Cross your fingers for me that my suitcases arrive unmolested.

AFCI was in a new location, though a smaller show than in the past at Anaheim. I hope manufacturers will hear what an excellent venue this was and consider booths for the next show. Look for some innovative and beautiful craft and hobby products in your local stores this year from the vendors who showed. I noticed that party products remain very popular - edibles like cookie decorating and party decor and favors. Paper lines were diverse and beautiful. Florals are very popular.

Plaid presented some current trends in their paint displays - outdoor, eclectic charm, nordic chic, brushed metal, color shift, vintage sign and Boho wanderlust, coastal chic, Parisian chic, chalk/milk paint and coastal charm.


I loved Shimelle and Amy Tan's lines at American Crafts. Then again, I am a color fan! Love the gold "wire" alpha at Pink Fresh, the Palm Beach collection at MME, and, of course, the Space Academy at Carta Bella caught my eye because of my grandson. Theresa Collins, Graphic 45, Heidi Swapp continue with lovely editions of their signature lines. There were planners everywhere, which I find such an interesting trend in this digital age. I loved the new screen print tool from Screen Sensation - easier, much smaller than Yudu and not hard to clean up. They gave us only 3 feet of workroom on narrow tables in a class to work with this product with no excessive mess, and everyone made beautiful samples!

Mixed media remains a trend, and I enjoyed all the classes with Andy Skinner and the great products from DecoArt and Stampendous.
I have not gone through all I collected, and all my photos; these are just a few highlights.
Great yarns for those who like to knit were on display. The show's emphasis was on making and doing. Sewing stuff, 3D printing, wood projects were a major part of the maker demos. Deflecto introduced wheels to their stacked storage; I loved that. Prime Publishing LLC sponsored a blogger event which was an excellent opportunity to learn about companies and products.

Seeing friends was a definite highlight! I missed a lot of photo ops but you get the idea! Many smiles.

The fascinators at Charity Wings were fantastic. Thinking of a project for a party or fund-raiser? The die for these hats and the X-long plates are available at Sizzix and a portion of the proceeds supports Charity Wings.

As I mentioned in my "Sustain" post, I've been studying sustainability and attending meetings to learn more.
GreenBiz 17 in Phoenix is one of these meetings in February. This past week in San Francisco I met many pleasant people involved in sustainability.

The first meeting was about Women at the Center: Linking Population, Health, and Environment For a Healthy World sponsored by San Francisco's WEN (Women's Environmental Network). Healthy environments are vital to me, as I imagine they are to most of you. In fact, I've been delighted to see how many of my friends are reporting sustainability efforts in their social media posts this year. I certainly hope it's more than a trend.

At AFCI, formerly known as CHA, in Phoenix, I asked manufacturers about their sustainability efforts and was pleased to note that some companies were overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Fairfield was one of the several businesses which were delighted to talk about efforts in sustainability, like recycled plastic bottles and methods used to reduce packaging and increase efficiencies in transportation. A rare few manufacturers said, "Well, Walmart insists." I also attended a Sustainability Unconference which was an exciting learning experience.  Here it led to some very informative lectures and discussions. From these conferences, I became aware of training on EcoDistricts. I was not sure this was for me, imagining city planners and architects as the audience. I sent an inquiry and was encouraged to attend. It was a great learning experience. I may take the certification test, too.

I, also, am working on the craft of podcasting. It is a different ballgame to be doing one's show versus being a co-host. I'm happy to learn from other podcasters. I think the best way to learn is to jump in and do it. My guests have been delightful, and I hope the listeners have enjoyed them, too. Do go to iTunes and download the show and give a review.  Here is a direct link to the podcast webpage - A Creative Approach Podcast.

Podfest Orlando presented by Libsyn will be a fantastic opportunity for learning from the podcast community. I do a quick turn around after my visit to Phoenix for the sustainability meeting and seeing family and friends and then head there.
OK, I've caught you up-to-date on my recent activities. It's a lot. No wonder I'm a bit behind here at home and feeling a little tired!

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