*Disclosure: The author works as an influencer for Cricut.
After five years with no new additions to the Distress Ink color palette, Ranger Ink and Tim Holtz have announced they will be adding new colors to the industry-dominating ink line again. The new color additions to the 60 color Distress line will be available in 7 Distress products, plus an enamel collector’s pin. A set release schedule or number of new colors has not been announced by Ranger Ink. Holtz will be announcing the first new Distress color in a livestream on his Facebook page on May 20th at 1 pm EDT. (The new color is Speckled Egg.)
In another sign of the ever-shrinking scrapbook page, Scrapbook.com will be adding 9” x 12” three-ring albums to their house brand line of products in June. The new 9×12 albums will be available in six solid colors plus two patterns, and four accompanying page protector designs are also being introduced.
Three-ring albums in the 9×12 size were previously only available from Studio Calico, where they became popular with pocket scrapbookers as a more approachable alternative to the 12×12 page size.
Cricut launched a new machine, the Cricut Joy, in February. In contrast to their previous machines’ 12” cutting width, the compact Joy machine has a maximum cutting width of only 4.5” but (when using Smart materials that can cut without a mat) can cut projects up to 20 feet long.
While Cricut was thinking small…Silhouette was thinking big, preparing to launch two machines that expanded on the (until 2020) pretty much craft industry standard 12” cutting width for die cutting. The Silhouette Cameo 4 Plus, with a 15” cutting width, launched earlier this year. Silhouette also previewed the Silhouette Cameo 4 Pro, a machine with a 20” cutting width, to insiders last year. That machine had an expected shipping date of late spring 2020 but is now expected to be pushed back slightly due to Covid-19 production and shipping disruptions.
Minnesota-based Stamp-n-Storage announced in late April that they have acquired their Canadian competitor Best Craft Organizer. Both companies produce craft organizing furniture and accessories, including add-ons for Ikea Kallax units and are regular exhibitors at U.S. consumer scrapbook shows. According to the announcement, the two companies will continue to maintain separate websites and brand presences while cross-selling some products between the two.
Jillibean Soup has announced that it will be partnering with American Crafts for the production of future products. The brand had previously been partnered for seven years with Hampton Art. Jillibean is known for its country chic paper collections (all with soup names) and rustic style surfaces for altering, along with its clean and simple cut file designs available in the Silhouette Online Store and as free giveaways on its social media.
Legal action is now resuming in My Sweet Petunia’s patent infringement suit against Stampin’ Up! over alleged infringement of My Sweet Petunia’s patent on its MISTI stamp platform. The case, which was filed in late 2018, is coming off of a six-month hold during which the U.S. PTO conducted a re-examination of patents at issue in the case. The two parties have now agreed to a schedule for the case (pending court approval) that extends pre-trial activities well into next year. My Sweet Petunia settled a similar case with Tonic Studios nearly two years ago over the Tim Holtz stamp platform.
Ellison Educational, who launched a flurry of lawsuits against stamping companies last year for allegedly violating one of its patents on thin metal die technology, has now settled its legal cases with all of its litigation targets. Prima Marketing and Avery Elle settled with Ellison in March 2019 and August 2019, respectively. Hero Arts settled its case with Ellison in late November 2019. In March 2020, Heartfelt Creations reached an agreement with Ellison to end their case. The final case, against designer Stephanie Barnard’s two companies, was settled in early May. Since all of the Ellison case settlements are confidential, it is difficult to know what they will mean for the die industry moving forward.
Of the Moment
Many scrapbookers are, of course, wanting to record the events surrounding this historic time and how it has affected their lives personally. In response to this desire, many companies in the industry have stepped up with content and products to assist in that project.
Photo Play Paper rushed a new Becky Moore scrapbooking collection called “Living The Quarantine Life” into production for May release. The collection’s designs include toilet paper, coronaviruses, and other themed elements. Another of Photo Play’s May collections, Michelle Coleman’s “We Can Just Stay Home”, focuses on design elements for family stay-at-home activities like pajama days, reading, and games.
Eleven stamp companies from The Stamping Village, a marketing collective, have created a collaborative stamp set that honors front line workers during the coronavirus crisis.
Each stamp set sold will donate $5 to the Save the Children fund. Previous stamp sets produced by the group have donated to The Dreaming Zebra Foundation.
Other companies have stepped up with downloadable items for digital or printable use, including many free offerings. Designer Traci Reed compiled a wonderful resource rounding up many of these digital brush, printable card, and SVG files on her blog.
On a more practical front, both Cricut and Silhouette are providing users of their electronic die cut machines with free cut files to use making masks. Silhouette isn’t providing any numbers, but Cricut says that as of May 1st their users had produced a million masks.