Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that all of you are working on your feast preparations. If you're not hosting the party, maybe you'll have time to craft some cupcake ornaments during the football game. (See the photograph for variations of the cupcake in the newsletter. Click on the photo to enlarge it.) The cupcake ornament (instructions in the last newsletter) is basically made from Hearty clay, which is decorated with plastic candy and beads. and then set in cupcake baking cups that have been stiffened with decoupage medium.
Don't forget that this Friday is the day to use the 40%off early bird (7am-9am) and 40% off late bird (7pm-9pm) coupons. While you're using your coupon, be sure to start doing some Christmas shopping and get your crafting supplies for making festive decorations. The holiday season is a wonderful time to craft together as a family. Crafting not only makes memories, it is also a great stress reliever.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Sweet Gift

At first I was reluctant to buy the 12x12 Sweet Stack because I had already purchased two of the smaller sets. However, when the 12x12 size went on sale I couldn't help myself. I was elated when I opened the stack because the assortment of papers were somewhat different from the smaller stacks. The larger sheets seem to be designed more for scrapbook pages and the smaller sheets work well for card making. Also the larger sheets allowed me to make a cute gift container for the note cards I made earlier. (See photo.) Begin by tracing an open Ori Yoki cup (the plastic container that is flat, printed plastic that snaps into a cup shape) onto a sheet of 12x12 from the Sweet Stack. Then cut it out, score fold lines, and assemble the cup with double stick tape. Add on a ribbon and a die-cut from the Sweet Stack collection and voila you have a pretty cup to hold your handmade note cards. Wrap the whole thing in a plain cello bag with a decorative bow and you have a super gift for that special person on your list.

While buying the DCWV paper stack, I decided to invest in a Fiskar squeeze paper puncher. Although this paper punch has been in BenFranklin Crafts for awhile, I put off trying it and reasoned that I really didn't need another paper punch. How good could this new tool be anyway? Boy, am I happy that I tried this scissor-like punch. It is easy to squeeze, light-weight, less bulky than other punches, and enables you to see where you are punching so you can center designs. I love this new punch! I am definitely getting more squeeze punches!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

On Sale Now

Bits and Pieces packages of beads, sequins, pearls, and other embellish-ments are on sale this week until Friday. I just discovered that the contents of each package fit perfectly in the Making Memories 6 pack small plastic container jars with screw on covers. Filling the jars with the Bits and Pieces items and keeping them out where I can see them, stirs my creativity. Especially during the holiday season, keeping embellishments within easy reach makes decorating crafts more enjoyable.

Also on sale this week are DCWV 12x12 paper stacks. The newest design of paper stacks is Sweet Stacks, which I absolutely adore. I was so in love with this glittered, candy, cupcake, chocolate, themed light-weight cardstock that I started making cards the very next day. The Sweet Stacks come in three sizes and have matching stickers, rub-ons, and chipboard die-cuts. The embellishments make it so easy to make sets of cards that would be perfect co-worker, teacher, or coach gifts. I think thank you note card sets are the most needed type at this time of year and they serve the double purpose of thanking that special person in your life. I used the Hero Arts Clear Stamp thank you stamps on the card set in the photo. By stamping a whole sheet of card stock and embossing it, I saved time and have lots of 'thank yous' for future projects. If you want a little more glitter on your cards you can dab on Stickles or use Glitter Stack paper in colors that coordinate with the Sweet Stack mat papers. Matching colored envelopes with your cards will make your sets more professional.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Change Changes

If you are a craft club member, you probably already know that the last newsletter is the last one you will receive in the mail. In an effort to become a greener company, we have decided to post future newsletters on our craft club site. This change will allow us to publish more often, keep product information current, and offer you more coupon members only discounts due to the elimination of printing and mailing costs. Economic change changes the way we need to operate our business but rest assured that it will not affect the way we service your crafting needs. It is always our business to please customers and that will never change.

With Thanksgiving only a dozen days away, I hope that your plans are set for the big feast day. If you haven't sent out invitations yet, I will post a simple invitation you can make and get in the mail. I also made an autumn place mat project (see photo) from a cotton dish towel. In the photograph you can see a tranferware plate and some Victorian and vintage utensils. I am a long time collector of old stuff, especially items that can be used at mealtime. Brown transferware dishes from the late 1800's or early 1900's seem to be just right for Thanksgiving dinner and it is very attractive to have a table set with varying patterns. The little ornate pie server is a recent find from a San Francisco antique shop. I don't know much about it except that it is sterling silver and I can't wait to use it to serve pumpkin pie. I don't remember where I bought the large serving fork, but I was pleased to see an article in this year's Martha Stewart Living Thanksgiving issue about this type of bright cut silverware. While polishing the fork I noticed that it had a small repair which is probably why it cost less that I thought it should. I usually spend under $20 for my serving pieces unless it is really calling my name. The tea strainer was an addition to my collection of tea time implements. The bamboo decoration on the strainer made it seem Asian even though it is most likely from Europe. Perhaps it was from that time period (Aesthetic?) when everything Asian was admired in Europe. The silver salad servers seem to be half horn and the simple style makes me think it is from the 1930's but I'm not sure. I suppose it is the mystery of the past life of my antique/vintage things that keep me collecting and wondering. I know that this blog is mostly about collecting but I think that many crafters are cooks and collectors. Maybe it is a genetic thing or we're just chubby pack rats!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Take a Second Look

If you've been to the Ben Franklin Crafts' Bead Shoppe recently, you've probably noticed the bunches of elastic bead bracelets on sale for 2/$7. While they are wearable and rather nice for the price, I don't like elastic bracelets because inevitably the elastic will break. I was drawn to the basket of sale bracelets because the beads used in them were of good quality. The beads made of shells, pearls, semi-precious gemstones, and glass would definitely be more expensive if you bought them by the strand.

I purchased lots of the shell bracelets and decided to try creating some jewelry using the long two holed shell bead. The photo (click on it to see details) shows the results of combining the long, rectangular iridescent bead with pearls, gemstones, and a few crystals. When I have some free time I will post the instructions for the necklace on the bfcraftclub website. I also bought an elastic bracelet that was made with square, pink, two-holed, shell beads. I'm thinking of combining the pink shells with some pearls and rose quartz to make a more stylish bracelet.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More Good Buys

I forgot to mention that on Sunday I also purchased a package of 12x12 paper and punch-outs called 'Chocolate" by S.E.I. I love the paper designs and color scheme of pink, grey, and brown shown on the outside of the package. However, a wonderful surprise is inside the package because the paper is extremely beautiful and elegant. There are two-sided foiled, textured, and glittered paper with swirls, words and butterflies galore. Even the stickers and punch-outs are gorgeous! The content list on the package does not make it clear that there are 28 sheets of either paper or cardstock, which means the paper is a bargain when compared to purchasing single sheets. Maybe you can share a pack with a friend because there are two of almost every 12x12 sheet. This paper pack would make an excellent Christmas gift but you really should buy one for yourself...I did!
While looking through the photographs I took at Ben Franklin Crafts on Sunday, I saw something I didn't notice before. I snapped a picture of what I thought was a pretty scene of the miniature village. I didn't realize that the igloo above the village (sorry I cut off the penguin's head) had a digital light up that counts down the days until Christmas. I wonder if the lights can be purchased? A parent with a young child might be relieved to not have to answer the how-many-days question and just refer the child to the igloo.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sunday Shopping

Two hours of shopping at Ben Franklin Crafts this past Sunday filled me with fresh ideas and exciting supplies. I even did some Christmas shopping. I bought a three-way jewelry tool that is a tweezer, needle-nose plier, and wire cutter, which makes it a perfect gift for friend who is learning to make jewelry. For someone who writes and sends lots of cards I found the perfect sets of four pretty notecards with matching die cuts from Tapestry. I plan to include with these sets some glitter, crystals, brads and other embellishments. I know even my non-crafting friends will have fun decorating the cards and be proud to mail the finished cards to their friends.
While at the Hilo store, I saw Donna putting the finishing touches on a beautiful original bouquet. She used a fairy ornament and some matching glittered floral components. I was really impressed with the artistic arrangement and creative use of unlikely elements. See this blog's photo. The other photo is of a book I purchased because the jewelry in it is so retro and wonderfully wacky. I knew just from the cover and title that I would love the book and I do! (Notice the Post-It tabs I use to mark projects I'm thinking of trying.) The unique ideas and information about all sorts of things makes this book good reading for any crafter.
Oh, while I was at Ben Franklin Crafts I found a strand of white button pearls that would have perfectly matched the replacement earring (mentioned in the last blog). Too bad I already mailed the earrings. I calculated that the strand of 85 pearls would make 14 pairs of three pearl earrings. Together with the cost of the ear wires the total cost of the earrings would be about $3.15. This is why these earrings would make great gifts or craft items. The button pearls would also look good in a necklace with faceted rondel gemstones or crystals.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pearl Earrings

A girlfriend asked me to make her a replacement for a lost pearl earring. This was no problem because I would surely be able to match the pearls. Even though I have lots of pearls, it wasn't that easy to find three pearls matching the size, shape, and color of the original earring, so I ended up making a new pair of earrings. The design simply involved using sterling wire to make loops on both ends of two of the pearls and using a sterling head pin on the bottom pearl and making a loop on top to connect it to the other two pearls. All three pearls were then attached to the pierced earring wire. While looking for the white pearls, I found other pearls that I thought would also make pretty earrings. Making these earrings was so easy that I am sure that anyone could do it. Handmade earrings make great gifts and craft fair items. I think that inviting friends over for an earring making tea party might be a wonderful holiday gift for several girlfriends. Oh, I put the earrings on mini cards made from leftover scrap paper and cardstock because I think that it is an attractive way to give a gift and it also makes a good presentation if you plan to sell your earrings. You can also write information about the earrings (beads, metal, etc.) inside the card and/or sign your name as the artist.