Creative Leisure News (December 26, 2012)


This is a special edition of CLN describing two projects for the people of Newtown, CN. I know everyone in the industry would like to help, to show their support, but there’s a question of overwhelming the people. Fo example, on Sunday CBS News reported the town has received 60,000+ teddy bears.

There is a question of craft supplies and what, if any, are needed. CHA reached out to the superintendent of the local schools offering to organize a drive to donate supplies, but as of now the call has not been returned. It’s not known if supplies aren’t needed or if the superintendent is so swamped with offers that he hasn’t had time to respond.

If supplies are needed, CHA will inform its members and CLNwill report it to subscribers. First, though, we’re trying to learn exactly what’s needed, in what quantities, and where to send the supplies.

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Newtown SnowflakeAfter the horrific event in Newtown on December 14, thousands of miles away retailer Scott Remmers ofBrea BeadWorks in Brea, CA sprang into action. The shop created this snowflake project and invited consumers to make it and write a card which would be attached to the snowflake and sent to the citizens of Newtown. Here’s the story in Scott’s own words:

December 16: “Since the horrific events on Friday we ran hard to create a support program for the community in Newtown, CT.

“Lisa Rose at A Bead of Roses bead store, just miles from the Sandy Hook school, and I chatted about what can take place to show our support. Long story short: we sent out emails to our association here in Southern California, and to about 50 store friends that I have across the U.S. I have attached our flyer that promoted this project, ’12-14-12.’

“Today our store made 72 snowflakes and had dozens upon dozens of people come out strictly to make a snowflake and write a note that would be attached to the snowflake. That note was whatever they wanted to express to the families who have been touched by this tragedy.

“Since we had to turn this event over very quickly, I did not send an email to the bead stores that I have in a database. But in the morning I will email 400 bead stores nationwide to do an event like this or something that they can do on their own. Let’s see what happens.”

“The customers were non-stop all day; many just came to the store and took part. But the sheer number of people who took time out of their calendar to make sure they did so, was overwhelming. It brings tears to your eyes knowing that people where touched by this so deeply.”

“They would turn around to thank us for doing it! Are you kidding me!! That is what we should be doing.”

By December 18, Scott estimated more than 40 stores in six to eight states were participating in some way.

On December 21, Lisa Rose at Newtown’s A Bead of Roses told CLN:

“We have received several boxes of finished designs from various bead stores around the U.S. BeadMaster and Bead & Button magazine have already reached out to us to see what they can do.

Many children are coming in day after day, because they just feel so comfortable in the store. Their experience is as follows:

“They are welcomed in the store with a warm smile, then they come down to the table and are given a bead kit to make a bracelet with smiley faces and the letters “SHES” (for Sandy Hook Elementary School). Once they finish the bracelet, they then receive a finished snowflake design from many of the generous California and Florida bead shops.

“We have cookies and candy to offer during their experience and on top of that, we have live music in the store. On Tuesday night we had a violinist and a cellist playing, Wednesday night a guitar player and angelic singer, and tonight we had a harp and guitar players. We also had a surprise visitor, an 8-week-old Bernese Mountain dog, too cute.

“We had several kids in the store tonight when one of the boxes arrived at 6 pm. We let them open it (just like Christmas) to find a basketful of wrapped snowflakes.

“Needless to say, you have all helped to bring serenity back into these children’s and families’ lives. Many of the children don’t want to leave once they are in the store.

“In fact, we had a young boy tonight who asked his parents if he can stay and work in the shop while they left the shop for a while. So they did; they left for 20 minutes and he helped to bag up some of the donations to give to the children later in the night.

“We officially put him to work passing out the bracelet kits, ornament kits, and bead boards to the kids as they walked in. With each kit, he told the children which state the bead shop represented who sent the kit or ornament. As he was leaving, he asked his parents if he can return tomorrow to ‘work again’ in the shop. His parents revealed to us that they never saw him so confident as he was that night.

“That is the impact you are all helping to achieve.

“From what we have heard, BIC and one other company is going to provide Chalk Hill with craft supplies for the new school. If there was anything else we would ask in support it would be to be able to still continue with therapeutic music in the shop. We have had the musicians in the shop from 4 pm – 6pm every night and the response has been incredible.

“We are also in need of stretchy wire, white letter beads with black letters, green and white paracord and bead stoppers. White Kraft Boxes are in high demand as the kids are still making their own snowflakes and we have run out of moonstone in a 8 mm faceted rondelle (if anyone can send us some strands it would help us tremendously as children want to keep making the “Our Little Angels” snowflake ornament we have for their school.

“We definitely don’t need any thing else already made, everything we received is so beautiful and appreciated, and now the main focus is to have the children be creative and make their own jewelry.

“By the way, all of the handwritten notes that came with the snowflakes — the parents are keeping the notes attached to the ornament when it is on the tree to show how incredible all of you are.

“My address is: A Bead of Roses, 274 South Main St, C9, Newtown, CT 06470  My direct cell phone is 203-450-0912: the store number is 203-304-9264, please don’t hesitate to call.

“Thank you all, and God bless Newtown.”

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Girls Love Mail is sponsoring a card program for the people of Newtown. Founder Gina Mulligan writes:

Dear Letter Writers,

With the recent tragedy in Newton, CT, our hearts and prayers go out to all of those grieving and suffering. As a letter writer for GLM, you can help in a very special way!

The U.S. Postal Service has set up an address for sending cards and letters to help the residents of Newtown. The address is below, and I encourage you to use your wonderful writing skills to help those in pain.

To help you write this difficult kind of condolence letter, here are a few writing tips:

1. Acknowledge The Loss – It’s okay to be honest about their loss and grief.

2. Express Your Sympathy – Simply saying you care and are sympathetic may be all they need.

3. Remind the Bereaved of Strength – You might want to include a reminder that the country and world are with them right now.

4. Prayers – This one is personal and I encourage you to search your heart.

Mail your letters to Messages of Condolence, P.O. Box 3700, Newton, CT 06470.

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