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Creative Leisure News (August 19, 2013)


This is the 384th issue of CLN. First and third Mondays, without fail. That will change after this issue, however. Barbara, who retired in June, and I are moving from central Illinois to Lawrence, KS to be closer to family. Because of the move (who knows how long it will take to unpack, get settled, and reconnect with the Internet), CLN will be on hiatus for the month of September.

So I’m going away, but I’m not going away. When I return, however, CLN will evolve into a free benefit for CHA members. I will be editor emeritus and will continue to write the Commentary, the Random Thoughts, and articles that are of a particular interest to me. And yes, the humor piece at the end will continue, especially if readers keep sending them to me. The CHA staff will write the remainder under my “guidance.” (Who was hired, who bought whom, who opened stores, new trade show exhibitors, etc.)

I’m ready for the change. For example, in this issue I wrote a summary of Wal-Mart‘s quarterly report; I was writing such pieces back when I edited Craftrendsmagazine. I have written that darn article about 100 times (four times a year for 25 years) and will be delighted to let someone else write it. (The same goes for the Michaels and Hancock reports, too.)

How did CLN come about? I was editor at Craftrends when it was sold to a private equity firm owned by KKR, one of the private equity giants. I tried it for a couple of years and got fed up every time a beancounter in New York, who owned so many magazines he didn’t even remember Craftrends, created policies that hurt the magazine and ruined the morale of my great staff. Then when the company started shafting my staff and I couldn’t stop it, I decided life was too short to work for jerks, so I quit and started CLN. (Since then, of course, I’ve been working for the biggest jerk of them all, me.)

In every issue, I’ve tried to be objective and weed out all the blah blah blah that’s in most press releases. I have every confidence that that will continue, and CLNwill be better than ever.

(Oh, and did you ever wonder about the term, emeritus? It means an old guy who’s still hanging around.)

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Kate’s Collage. Tall Mouse Arts & Crafts began as a temporary shop in Fullerton, CA selling Christmas ornaments. It grew to become one of the most influential independent stores in industry history. In 1987, a 17-year-old kid, Kim Donahue, joined the company and has never left. Now Kim has written a book, Growing Up Retail, about Tall Mouse, the evolution of the industry, and the lessons she’s learned about retail – and life. Today Kim travels the country with the Tall Mouse booth selling at consumer shows. In this excerpt, Kim, a former member of the CHA board of directors, describes how Tall Mouse helped the inventor develop Tulip paint. The book is available on Amazon Kindle for the next three months, and then on other e-readers. To order the book now, click HERE.

(Note:  If it’s not the column you expected, click the Reload or Refresh button of your browser.)

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Apparently CLN voters are not wildly optimistic about the second half of the year. The category picked to perform the best was Knit/Crochet and that on a four-point rating scale only earned a B-. (A = 4 points, B = 3 points, C = 2 points, D = 1 point.) Here are the grades for 11 categories rated in the past two issues:

Knit/Crochet: 2.91 … General Crafts: 2.87 … Sewing: 2.80 … Kids Crafts: 2.73 … Art Materials: 2.57 … Beading/Jewelrymaking: 2.40 … Seasonal: 2.18 … Needlework: 2.11 … Food Crafts: 2.06 … Papercraft/Scrapbooking: 2.00 … Florals: 1.85

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In the quarter ended July 26, same-store sales excluding fuel in U.S. Wal-Marts actually fell 0.3%; analysts had predicted a 0.9% gain, Bloomberg News reported. As a result, the company lowered its profit per share to $5.10 – $5.30 from $5.20 – $5.40.

Revenue rose 2.3% to $116.9 billion, but that was below analysts’ estimates of $118.5 billion. This was the fifth month in a row the company missed analysts’ projections.

The company blamed the 2% increase in Social Security taxes and higher gas prices in the U.S. and currency fluctuations in the international division.

Second-quarter net income rose 1.3% to $4.07 billion ($1.24/share). The average of 27 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was $1.25. For the third quarter in a row, traffic declined slightly.

Wal-Mart stock fell 2.1% in the hours after releasing the quarterly report. Bloomberg said the shares had gained 12% this year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index had risen 18%.

Regarding the investigations by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission that Wal-Mart bribed Mexican officials – a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act – the company said it has spent $155 million thus far this fiscal year and expects to spend another $75-$80 million in the third and fourth quarters.

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1.  Darice has acquired LockerLookz, a leader in creative locker decorations. LockerLookz helped to create the trend for teens and pre-teens to express themselves with fashionable but temporary locker decorations. The mix-and-match locker decorations include chandeliers, bins, mirrors, shag rugs, message boards, and wallpaper.

“Our partnership is a great combination of strengths,” says Darice President Mike Birkholm. “We’re taking the entrepreneurial and design success of LockerLookz, and backing it with the manufacturing, distribution, and product development capabilities of Darice.”

“We had taken our business about as far as we could on our own and needed resources like that of Darice to go further,” says Co-Founder JoAnn Brewer. “We couldn’t be more excited to work with such a quality company with great human resources and family values as Darice.”

2.  Spectrum Crafts, a division of Design Works Crafts, acquired the assets of Janlynn, a manufacturer and worldwide distributor of needlework and craft products.

Kozub-family owned, Janlynn Corp. was founded in 1979 and is the manufacturer of its consumer product lines including Janlynn, Designs For the NeedleStamps Happen, and Crafter’s Pride brands.

Family-owned Design Works Crafts has been providing quality needlework and craft products worldwide since 1987. Janlynn will join the Design Works Portfolio of quality consumer brands including Tobin brand stamped goods and Titan brand felt product lines.

“With the acquisition of Janlynn, Design Works Crafts is now the nation’s largest woman-owned, family-run manufacturer of needlecraft kits,” says Dan Knopp, Design Works Crafts President. “We are proud to honor and continue the traditions of a family run business that have been exemplified in Janlynn since its founding. Together with the Janlynn management team and John Kozub as VP of Sales, DWC will continue to provide consumers with the highest quality, made in the USA products that both companies have been known for.”

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At Michaels’ annual vendor conference, Plaid won the overall Vendor of the Year award for product innovation, customer education and inspiration, quality products, and efficiency in supply chain. The Aaron Brothers division recognized Faber-Castell as Vendor of the Year for its contribution to the growth of the kids department.

Other winners included Coats & Clark (Product of the Year) … Elmer’s ProductsVISTAR, and Tru Vue (Outstanding Service) … Polygroup (Innovation) … American Crafts and DecoArt (Powerful Brands).

Winners of the Supply Chain Partner of the Year award were Keystone FreightMarisol Int., and Intelligrated.

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1.  Volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to grow 1.7% this month compared to August, 2012, and should continue to see gains through the holiday season according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released Tuesday by the National Retail Federation. It’s the first growth in five months. The year is expected to end with a 2.4% increase over 2012.

“As the economy continues to slowly improve, retailers are stocking up for their most important sales season of the year,” said NRF Supply Chain VP Jonathan Gold. “Merchants have been very cautious so far this year, but our forecasts show that they plan to make up for it in the next few months.”

2.  Small business optimism edged up in July, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). The NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Indexincreased 0.6 point to 94.1 last month, recouping most of June’s decline, and was the fourth highest reading since December 2007, when the economy slipped into recession.

3.  Li & Fung is the largest middleman between overseas factories and U.S. retailers. Recently CEO Bruce Rockowitz said orders for the second half are “solid.”

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1.  The deadline for submitting nominations for the three types of CHA awards is Aug. 31. They are the Meritorious Award of Honor (service to CHA); the Industry Achievement Award (contribution to craft and hobby industry);and Special Recognition Award(s) (good deeds).

The nomination forms can be downloaded Complete the form and return it by fax or email to Lidia Diaz at (201) 835-1267 or

The Awards Committee, composed of CHA board members and member volunteers, will review the applications and the winners will be announced in late fall. The awards will be given out during the winter show in January.

2.  August 31 is also the deadline for U.S. companies to reserve exhibit space in the U.S. Pavilion at special rates for Creativeworld (Jan. 25-28) in Frankfurt, Germany. CHA and NAMTA are partnering the Pavilion. A leading trade fair for art and craft supplies,Creativeworld usually attracts approximately 10,000 visitors each year.

For more info, visit and email

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The Andy Warhol Bridge in Pittsburgh has been yarn-bombed. A community group claims it’s the largest yarn-bomb in the U.S. because it has 600+ knitted or crocheted blankets covering most of the structure, the Huffington Post reported.

The Pittsburg Post Gazette said was the brainchild of Knit the Bridge, as part of the Fiberart International 2013 festival, and will be on view until September 6th, 2013.

To read more – with photos, click HERE.

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Jack Parker opens the first A.C. Moore store in Moorestown, NJ

Northwest Fabrics converts its store in Appleton, WI to fabrics and crafts and subsequently all stores were remodeled accordingly. It is the first fabric chain to add crafts. The project is led by Maureen Ruth, who today is Chair of the CHA board of directors.

The Knitting Guild of America is founded.

Hancock Fabrics acquires Minnesota Fabric/Fabric Warehouse, which has 100+ stores. The chain grew to 482 stores.

Linda Dennis is elected Chair of the ACCI board of directors, the first woman chair of ACCI or HIA. The first female Chair of the HIA board is independent retailer Sandy Wilmot in 1997.

Stan Clifford and Jim Miller establish the DecoArtdivision of Ceramichrome and exhibit their new line of acrylic paint (64 colors) for the first time at the Society of Decorative Painters convention in Chicago. TheAmericana name was added in 1987. In 1997, Stan bought out Jim and in 1998, Stan sold the ceramic company, leaving DecoArt as a standalone company. Today there are 250+ colors sold in 80+ countries.

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  1.  Change your address book! The CLN phone (309-925-5594) and fax (309-925-9068) numbers will be shut off August 30. To contact me after that, call my cell: 309-231-9599. The email address remains the same:
  2.  I was struck once again by the number of non-U.S. companies joining CHA. Just in the past month new members came from the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Australia, France, Hungary, Japan, South Korea, Netherland Antilles, Spain, and Nepal.

CLN has learned that theme of the fall issue of CHA’s magazine, Craft Industry Today, will be on the international market.

  1.  The 8/9 edition of my local paper, the Peoria Journal Star, offered two more examples of how consumers turn to our products to make the world a better place.

Mary Hays cuts plastic bags into strips and knits them into sleeping mats for homeless people.

Carol Meiferdt travels with her husband, an official in the motorcycle racing association, to races around the country. When a racer fathers a baby, she knits a baby blanket for the newborn. Thus far, she has knitted 400+ blankets. Oh yeah, and she’s 85.

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  1.  “Households with school-age children (pre-kindergarten through 12th grade) plan a big cut-back in back-to-school spending. Results of the 2013 Brand Keys Back to School Report Card show that there will be a year-over-year decrease of 10% in back-to-school spending, or an average spend this year of just more than $600 per household.” – Chain Store Age

NEW STORES. Hobby Lobby plans to open in Woodbury, MN. Last week HL opened in Kalamazoo, MI., Elk Grove, CA, and Lake County, FL. HL is also negotiating to open a store in Rutland, which would be its first store in Vermont and will open in Ithaca, NY in November. … Jo-Ann will open in Sierra Vista, AZ, Athens, OH, Atlanta, GA, and Commack, NY. … The UK’s Hobbycraft chain will open in Eastourne.

  1.  Yesterday all Jo-Ann stores hosted a free make-it/take-it for kids, who made “Clothespin Creatures.”
  2.  The New York Times published a scathing report on Li & Fung, the company that connects factories in poor countries with major retailers and vendors. The company is a major middle-man in our industry. The article cites numerous cases of factory-worker deaths and injuries due to unsafe working conditions. Read the article HERE.
  3.  Computer problems at one of the East Coast’s biggest ports have snarled the flow of cargo across the Northeast for weeks, delaying the delivery of consumer goods needed for back-to-school sales and the start of the holiday shopping season.

CRIME, I.  Thieves broke into a Hobby Lobby store in Spartanburg, SC through a roof air conditioning unit, cut a hole in the ceiling and then another hole in a large floor safe, and escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash.

CRIME, II. In South Florida, Ignatius “Michael” Pollara was declared mentally unfit to stand trial for shoplifting. (Comment: He can’t have been too unfit since he was accused of stealing $2+ million in toys, mostly Legos.)

  1.  “The Supreme Court made the ruling that it [the mandate] was a tax. It was after that point that our legal counsel came and let us know what the ramifications of that were for our family with the 20 contraceptions that are mandated, four of those being abortive in nature, which he knew was something that would violate our own conscience. So that’s when we realized that we had no other option but to file suit.” –Steve Green, President of Hobby Lobby (speaking on American Family Radio)
  2.  CLN received a frantic email from a subscriber: “Oh my god, Hobby Lobby is closing 500 stores!” Uh, no. The letter CEO David Green wrote in June, 2012, complaining about his ethical argument with Obanacare, was published in CLN at the time. At no time in the letter did David say he was closing 500 stores. To read it, click HERE.

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RESEARCH. TNNA members can now access the complete new study, The State of Specialty Needle Arts 2013. The Yarn portion is HERE. The Needlepoint section is HERE. Read the Counted Thread portion HERE. There’s also an overview of previous studies (’05, ’07, ’10, and ’13). The Retailer and Wholesaler surveys will be released next Month and in Oct. (Note: Because the studies’ methodology remained the same, there are very helpful comparisons over the past 8 years.)

PR. CHA sponsored make-it/take-it tables for attendees of the Teen Choice awards which were broadcast on the Fox network Aug. 10. Vendors who sponsored the tables include SpellbindersJohn Bead, andKalmbach Publishing.

  1.  Stretch bands, or loom bands, are the new tween craze, even getting attention from NBC’s Today Show.

INTERESTNG READING. A buyer returned from a trade show and wrote, “Why I Skip Your Booth at a Trade Show.” Read it HERE.

CHARITY, I. Two years ago Girls Love Mail started collecting handwritten letters of encouragement and gave them to women undergoing breast cancer treatment. Today it has letter writers from 900+ cities and has collected 8,000+ letters. Now they’re also going to 27 cancer treatment centers. To learn more, and email the founder, Gina Mulligan at October isBreast Cancer Awareness Month.

CHARITY, II. CAMELOT FABRICS has partnered with Mothers of Professional Basketball Players (MPBP) to launch the #SewSocial project, a charitable cause that will provide lap quilts to Quilts for Kids, an organization dedicated to providing comfort to children of abuse and those with life-threatening illnesses.

TECHNOLOGY. BERNINA has introduced its newWeAllSew mobile app for  iPhone users, available for free from the Apple app store. The WeAllSew app enables users to read the latest posts from sewing experts, find project ideas, tutorials, patterns, and tips. An Android version is also in development.

  1.  Delanie West has joined Faber Castell USAas VP, Creativity Center (Product Development). She has 17+ years of creative design experience and was VP & General Manager of Creative and Product Development at EK Success/Wilton Brands.

FLOSS. DMC has added 16 new colors to its six-strand embroidery floss line, raising the total number of colors to 488, and the first addition to the line since 2001. They’re available in a clear plastic pack which is peggable. The new colors were developed based on input from designers to expand several existing color families, and the collection is split into two distinct palettes: eight soft, natural shades and eight bright, vibrant hues.

  1.  National I Love Yarn Day is coming up – Oct. 12. Visit for ideas and inspiration.
  2.  Once again unscrupulous people are calling potential trade show attendees and passing themselves off as the trade association’s official travel agency and therefore can offer special hotel rates. It’s happened in the past regarding TNNA and CHA shows, and it’s happening again for TNNA’s winter show. To see the official show hotels for the San Diego show, click HERE.

CRYSTALS. Walnut Hollow has introduced theCrystýler® program which includes Crystýler® tools invented and patented by Norma Rapko. The tool replaces tweezers, wax, etc., because it holds loaded crystals in the tool barrel and has a thumb release to place crystals exactly where the crafter wants. The program includes two Crystýler® Tool sizes with six flat-back Crystýler® Crystal colors available for each size. Available in Michaels today.

KNITTING, I. All American Crafts announced several changes with its flagship knitting magazine, Knit ‘n Style. Effective Jan.1, the name changes to KNITstyleto reflect a stronger emphasis on style. Industry veteran Cari Clement will be Editor In Chief; she begins this Friday. She had been editor of the company’s Knit 1-2-3 and Crochet 1-2-3 magazines, and is President of the Crochet Guild of America. Starting with the Apr. 2014 issue (on newsstands in January), Cari promises a new graphic look and a variety of new editorial features.

KNITTING, II. Knitting Daily has introduced The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits, after the success of itsJane Austen Knits, the company’s first foray into knitting magazines inspired by famous writings. It contains patterns for immediate to advanced knitters.

ART, I. Jacquard has introduced SolarFast™, a sunlight-developed dye for paper and natural fabrics, available in 14 colors. For more info, watch theinstructional video or visit the SolarFast product pageon the Jacquard website.

  1.  The Fall Knit & Crochet Show is Oct. 2-6 in Concord, NC. For a list of detailed class offerings, clickHERE.

ART, II. In the “Portrait of America” section, the September issue of Country Living magazine has a quickie profile of Suder’s Art Store in Cincinnati. It’s been a family-run business for 89 years. See more

  1.  Some bead enthusiasts have too much time on their hands. One in particular covered everything in a kitchen – everything – in beads. See it to believe itHERE.
  2.  Apparel prices are rising, possibly due to higher cotton prices. Cotton prices may continue to rise due to the chaos in Egypt.
  3.  The 8/12 edition of the Wall Street Journalchronicled efforts to restore the paintings of Jackson Pollock, considered one of the major painters of the late 20th century. The paintings aren’t that old, “but time is especially cruel to modern art,” WSJ reported. “Commercial paints fade and flake. Canvas sags. Frames warp.”
  4.  Noted needlework designer Lois Winston is continuing her mystery-writing career with the latest Anastasia Pollack mini-mystery, Mosaic Mayhem, an e-book novelette that takes the reluctant amateur sleuth on a three-day romantic getaway to Barcelona. It turns out to be anything but, when, within hours after arriving, Anastasia finds herself trying to convince a Spanish crime syndicate they’ve kidnapped the wrong person. Order the e-book HERE.
  5. announced the launch of Amazon Art (, a marketplace that gives customers direct access to 40,000+ works of fine art from 150+ galleries and dealers. Amazon Art will showcase artworks from more than 4,500+ artists — one of the largest online collections of original and limited edition artwork for purchase directly from galleries and dealers.

DID YOU KNOW? The first observance of Labor Day was likely on Sept. 5, 1882, when some 10,000 workers assembled in New York City for a parade. That inspired similar events across the country, and by 1894 more than half the states were observing a “workingmen’s holiday.” That year Congress passed legislation and President Grover Cleveland signed the bill designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day.

CONDOLENCES, I. To the family of noted quilter/author Katreen Ricketson, 42. She and her husband were killed in an auto accident, leaving behind two children. She had just written a book, Brave New Quilts, for C&T Publishing, which is now available.

“C&T Publishing would like to express our condolences to the children and families of Katreen Ricketson and Rob Shugg,” said Publisher Amy Marson. “Kathreen was a leader in the crafting community who had gained incredible respect from the crafting and publishing communities. We will dearly miss working with her and enjoyed creating this book together.” A trust fund has been established for the children, Otilija and Orlando. The family is accepting donations through PayPal. To make a donation, click HERE and send your contribution to

CONDOLENCES, II. To the family of Louis Carson, Jr., 68, the National Accounts Manager for Clover. Prior to that, he worked for Coats & Clark for 26 years. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Louis’ honor to Shepherd Center, or the Wounded Warrior Project,

OUR VERY BEST WISHES. In a few days Casey Casebolt is retiring after 28 years as VP of Sales & Marketing for the Gerson Companies. But his industry career started in high school when he worked for Sears, then Montgomery Ward, and later with the old corporate Ben Franklin. “The best part of all these accumulated years is the PEOPLE I have met — bar none!” Casey told CLN. “Customers, associates, competitors — you name ‘em. Many are lifetime friends. I guess the best thing I can say is, ‘Thanks for the memories, and I’m most thankful I can still remember those memories.’”

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To read the latest listings click on Jobs in the left-hand column or click HERE.

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A former Sergeant in the Marine Corps took a new job as a high school teacher. Just before the school year started, he injured his back. He was required to wear a plaster cast around the upper part of his body. Fortunately, the cast fit under his shirt and
wasn’t noticeable.

On the first day of class, he found himself assigned to the toughest students in the school. The smart students, having already heard the new teacher was a former Marine, were leery of him and he knew they would be testing his discipline in the classroom.

Walking confidently into the rowdy classroom, the new teacher opened the window wide and sat down at his desk. When a strong breeze made his tie flap, he picked up a stapler and stapled the tie to his chest.

Dead silence. The rest of the year went very smoothly.

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1. If you want a hard-copy of this issue, click on “Printer Friendly version.”

  1.  If you ever have trouble with your password, click on “Trouble with your password?” in the right-hand column of the main page. The computer will then email the correct information to you.

3. CLN will be on hiatus for the month of September. Enjoy your Labor Day!

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Creative Leisure News (August 5, 2013)


CHA’s decision to co-locate next year’s summer show with NAMTA in Pittsburgh in late April (see below), is a classic case of how impossible it is to make everyone in this diverse industry happy. Consider, there are tiny shops and Wal-Mart, vendors working out of their garages and multi-million-dollar conglomerates. Everybody has different needs. Most people will probably applaud the CHA/NAMTA connection; stores that sell crafts and art materials will be delighted: two shows for the price of one. Years ago HIA co-located with TNNA; one badge got you into both shows and everyone seemed happy. But there are comments by viewers who read Scrapbook Update‘s report on the change, and some were not happy. It’s too soon after the winter show to develop new products/designs, and it’s too far away to present Christmas items. So some scrapbook folks are unhappy, but I bet they will be next April when they meet all these art material retailers they’d never heard of before. There’s an enormous number of paper-related products that cross over into jewelry. In April I bet vendors will discover there are even more products that cross over into art materials.

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Benny Da Buyer. BERNINA names its top dealers for 2012. (Note: If you click on the column and it’s not the column you expected, click the Reload or Refresh button of your browser.)

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Now it’s time to consider the Knitting/Crochet, Needlework, Paper Crafts/Scrapbooking, Seasonal, and Sewing categories. How will they perform in the second half of 2013? To vote, click on Industry Polls in the right-hand column or click HERE.

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General Crafts scored the highest in CLN readers’ predictions of how various categories would fare in the second half of the year. Here are the grades and grade-point averages. General Crafts: A, 12.5% … B, 62.5% … C, 25.0% … D, 0% … F, 0% = 2.870 Kids Crafts: A, 0% … B, 73.3% … C, 26.7% … D, 0% … F, 0% = 2.733 Art Materials: A, 6.7% … B, 40.0% … C, 46.7% … D, 6.7% … F, 0% = 2.569 Beading/Jewelrymaking: A, 5.6% … B, 44.4% … C, 38.9% … D, 5.6% … F, 5.6% = 2.401 Food Crafts: A, 0% … B, 26.7% … C, 60.0% … D, 5.6% … F, 0% = 2.057 Florals: A, 7.7% … B, 23.1% … C, 30.8% … D, 30.8% … F, 7.7% = 1.848

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The recent Create-N-Connect show in Las Vegas had a positive, upbeat “feel” to it because there was a good ratio of booths to buyers. The number of exhibitors was down about 15%, but the number of preregistered buyers was up slightly. Hence the show floor felt relatively crowded and busy. Most vendors seemed pleased with the event.

  1.  Once again the show was dominated by paper crafting. For more on the products unveiled at the show, visit Julie McGuffee’s blog HERECraft Critique; and Scrapbook Update.
  2.  One exception was a Chinese company, CNCA LASER,demonstrating a 3D printer which was “printing” small (2″) heads of Greek and Roman gods. The price was under $1,000 and the company was looking for re-sellers. (A website is not yet available. The phone is +86-551-653 35248). The detail work of the finished pieces was remarkable. … Another exception was Peachtree Global, offering Magic Marble swirling paint that works with tap water. The demos attracted a relatively large crowd.
  3.  There was an excellent seminar, “How the Affordable Healthcare Act Will Affect Your Business.” Look for a similar program at the January show.

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The CHA Summer show as a stand-alone trade show is over, at least for now. CHA announced that next year it would co-locate with the Int. Art Materials Trade Assn. show in 2014 in Pittsburgh Apr. 30 – May 2. The 2014 summer show scheduled for St. Louis has been cancelled. CHA and NAMTA exhibitors will be in the same hall, so a badge from either association allows buyers access to all of the booths. The two associations will work together on an expanded series of program sessions. “CHA is delighted to partner with NAMTA in their annual trade show to bring greater business opportunity to our members,” CHA Board Chair Maureen Ruth told Scrapbook Update. CHA President/CEO Andrej Suskavcevic added, “I look forward to this partnership with NAMTA as we look to help our members build new relationships to grow their business.” “We are very excited at the prospects of these two well-respected associations working more closely to deliver greater benefits and value to their members, exhibitors, and conference attendees,” NAMTA Exec Director, Reggie Hall said. “Our associations, our members, and our industries overall continue to face a wide range of challenges and this partnership will address those challenges to benefit everyone involved.” CHA also plans to hold “Creative Conferences” at various locations in 2014. Details will be announced later.

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When HIA moved its January trade show out of Chicago to Sun Belt cities, a number of industry leaders thought the Midwest still needed a trade show and formed the Mid-American Craft & Hobby Assn. It held its first show in a Chicago downtown hotel in July, 1977. Similar organizations were formed in the Northeast, South, and Southwest and sponsored their own summer shows, but MACHA was the largest. After a few years it outgrew the hotel and moved to Rosemont. It had become a national show and so the board changed the name to the Assn. of Crafts & Creative Industries. When ACCI and HIA merged to create CHA, the new association ran both shows. The summer show has declined in size and attendance for years. Why?

  1.  Imports took over the seasonal (Christmas) business, and July was much too late.
  2.  Some chains stopped sending their buyers to the show. For vendors who sell almost exclusively to the chains, there seemed to be no reason to exhibit.
  3.  The decline of the independent retailer. There literally aren’t near as many independents as there once were.
  4.  The decline of the scrapbook specialty store. In addition to reducing attendance, it hurt the number of exhibitors who, lacking the resources to sell to the chains, depended on selling to large numbers of independents.

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In a note to members, CHA President/CEO Andrej Suskavcevic reported that changes are in the works for the winter show Jan. 10-14 in Anaheim. “In the works for Anaheim we will be featuring what’s new and innovative via showcases and an enhanced new exhibitor section, special buyer programs, a Bead/Jewelry pavilion, a celebrity speaker series, product and business education sessions for our conference day (10th) as well as on the show floor, and a CHA Foundation Gala.” Details are expected to be released next month.

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Michaels announced it will issue $700 million in new debt to pay a dividend to its private equity shareholders, Bain Capital and The Blackstone Group, and 150-200 current and former execs who have been awarded stock options. Bain and Blackstone acquired the company in a 2006 leveraged buyout. “While the IPO is delayed, this provides liquidity to our equity holders,” Michaels VP Joshua Moore told Bloomberg News. “We want to be sure our new CEO [Chuck Rubin, hired in February] has had enough time to assess the company and have a very clear and compelling story,” Moore said. “Four months isn’t enough time.” The IPO may not happen until next year. “The window is getting shorter before the holiday season,” Moore said. “The calendar isn’t in our favor.” Recent results aren’t in the company’s favor either, Bloomberg reported. The first-quarter results were relatively flat, and through the first nine weeks of the second quarter, sales have declined 0.1% to $631 million. Same-store sales fell 2.7%. Net sales for the five months ending July 6 increased 0.9% to $1.62 billion but same-store sales declined 1.5%.

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U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton in Oklahoma City issued a preliminary injunction that exempts Hobby Lobby from the mandate that required HL to offer insurance coverage for the morning-after pill, which HL says would violate its religious beliefs. The injunction lasts until Oct. 1, to give the federal government time to decide on an appeal. “There is a substantial public interest in ensuring that no individual or corporation has their legs cut out from under them while these difficult issues are resolved,” Heaton said On June 27, a federal appeals court in Denver let Hobby Lobby challenge the mandate on religious grounds, and said there was a good chance the company would prevail, Reuters reported. The appeals court said HL had “drawn a line at providing coverage for drugs or devices they consider to induce abortions, and it is not for us to question whether the line is reasonable.” However, a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled in favor of the government in a case that involved a furniture company owned by a Mennonite family that sued the government over the birth control mandate, the Christian Post reported. The ruling is exactly the opposite of the Hobby Lobby decision, which increases the odds that the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually rule on the cases. Read more HERE.

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A U.S. district court overturned a Federal Reserve rule capping the debit card fees that banks collect from merchants. The judge ruled that the Federal Reserve improperly set the caps too high after an extensive lobbying campaign by the banking industry, the Washington Post reported. Under the rule, banks can charge retailers as much as 21 cents a transaction, but the court decision could result in debit fees being cut by more than 50%. In a note to investors, Guggenheim Partners said debit fees probably will revert to the 7-12 cents/transaction that the Fed had initially proposed.

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Just prior to the Create-N-Connect show, American Crafts purchased the craft/hobby wholesaler Imaginisce. The change in ownership is effective immediately. Imaginisce was started by Durham Brands and was known for its craft tools, including a cordless glue gun, the iTopbutton maker and iRock gem setter, and paper craft collections. Jeff Mitchell, CEO of American Crafts, says Imaginisce’s lineup of products appeals to a wide variety of crafters. “Over the years, Durham Brands has done an outstanding job of making innovative tools and crafting supplies at an accessible price,” says Mitchell. “The products are easy to use and inspire creativity.” Jeff Durham, president and CEO of Durham Brands says he’s pleased that Imaginisce has found a new home. “American Crafts is the right company to move the Imaginisce brand forward,” says Durham. “We’re excited to see Imaginisce gain fresh exposure and grow under new ownership.” With the purchase of Imaginisce, American Crafts will continue to provide retailers with an ever growing range of scrapbooking, stamping, crafting, and DIY options. At the show Imaginisce introduced a vacuum-powered update to the iRock gem setter, Milk Paint, reverse-tension tweezers, and three new themed collections of paper and embellishments. The new products will begin shipping from American Crafts this month. Retailers interested in ordering Imaginisce products should call 800-879-5185.

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1. iLoveToCreate(R)  named Gregory Waples as VP of Sales. He most recently served as Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Absolutely New, a consumer goods company that brings inventors’ innovative new products to market. Prior to that, he worked for Proctor & Gamble, Polaroid, CSS Industries, and Jarden Corp. 2. Craftwell, producer of die-cutting machines and theeBosser, has appointed James Thornton as Board Chair,Scrapbook Update reported.. From 2005 to 2011 Thornton had been Chair/President/CEO of Provo Craft, manufacturer the Cricut line of products. Since leaving Provo, Thornton has been serving as CEO of Digital Art Zone 3D (DAZ3D) a Salt Lake City-based technology company. 3. Spellbinders(R) Paper Arts named Greg Tipsord CEO. He will assume his duties immediately. Tipsord has worked for The Dial Corp, The Henkel Corp., and Proctor and Gamble. In 2012, he founded the Business Consumer Consulting Group, providing management consulting services to consumer-marketplace businesses. Former CEO Jeff Caron remains as a consultant. 4. Spellbinders(R) Paper Arts also named Donald Erlichman as Director of Business Development. He will report to Sales Director Jerry Poffel. Prior to Spellbinders, he held the positions of Director of Business Development for DAZ3D, VP of Int. Sales & Media Shopping Networks for Provo Craft, National Sales Manager for International Molding and Sales Manager, Museum Division for Tru Vue. 5. Fibre-Craft has named David Moll as Exec VP of Sales. He served as VP at Russ Berrie and EVP at Commonwealth Toy & Novelty. The company also appointed Wendy Bucinski as VP of Operations/Finance. She had been Controller/VP of Finance at Bally MFG, First Alert, and Publications Int.

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During the recent summer market, TNNA announced the winners of the third annual Business Innovation awards. This year’s winners received $15,000+ in prizes.

  1.  The Needlework Retailers award: Homestead NeedleArts, Grand Blanc, MI
  2.  Needlework Wholesalers and Affiliates award: Robbyn’s Nest Designs, Cuba, NY
  3.  Yarn Retailers award: Yarnover Truck, Los Angeles
  4.  Yarn Wholesalers and Affiliates award: Skacel Collection, Kent, WA

To learn more about this year’s winners and about the Business Innovations Awards program, visit HERE.

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The deadline for submitting nominations for the three types of CHA awards is Aug. 31. The nomination forms can be downloaded HERE. Complete the form and return it by fax or email to Lidia Diaz at 201-835-1267 They are the Meritorious Award of Honor (service to CHA);the Industry Achievement Award (contribution to craft and hobby industry) and Special Recognition Award(s) (good deeds). The Awards Committee, composed of CHA board members and member volunteers, will review the applications and the winners will be announced in late fall. The awards will be given out during the winter show in January. “Our industry is full of amazing people that truly deserve the recognition for their service and achievements,” said Committee Chair David Murray.

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The company that started in a cheese shop by two European immigrant couples is celebrating its 70th birthday with special programming through Aug. 24. “We truly appreciate being a part of people’s lives and communities over the past 70 years and look forward to continuing that relationship into the future,” said CEO/President Travis Smith. “While the times and trends may change, we continue to work to inspire the creativity that exists in all of us, young and old.” The celebration began July 28 with a Simple Sunday event, in this case creating a handmade gift tag. There is also a “Share Your Story” sweepstakes on Facebook, in which customers are encouraged to exchange their favorite Jo-Ann memories. Each week two random entrants will be chosen to win $100 Jo-ann gift cards. Visit

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According to the Research, IncThe State Of Retailing Online 2013: Marketing & Merchandising, nearly nine in 10 (87%) online retailers surveyed either already have implemented or are planning to implement mobile email optimization in 2013, and seven in 10 will optimize paid search for smartphones and tablets (71% and 73%, respectively). “As consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets in the U.S. reaches critical mass, retailers know that their marketing mix has to work optimally for all customer touchpoints now,” said Exec Director Vicki Cantrell. “Email has always been one of most effective customer retention vehicles in the market, so it’s no surprise to see retailers investing to make email engaging and relevant for the increasingly mobile consumer.” According to the study, retailers say that, on average, 28% of emails sent to customers are first opened on a smartphone; the stakes are higher for small retailers who say that on average, 42% of their emails are first opened on a smartphone.

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Apparently a new trend in the toy industry is what’s being called “snack toys” — quicker, easier board games and projects that take less time. For example, Hasbro introduced a new version of Monopoly that takes 30 minutes to play. Kids are so busy with activities, the theory goes, they don’t have time for long projects. Or possibly their attention span is shorter. Will that trend carry over to kids crafts?

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VANDALISM. Some people in Los Angeles protesting the Trayvon Martin verdict smashed windows and raided a Wal-Mart store, the Associated Press reported.

NEW STORES. Hobby Lobby will remodel an old Menards in Springfield, IL and open this fall. Others will open in Bangor, Maine and Moline, IL. … UK’s Hobbycraft will open in Plymouth. … Jo-Ann opened in Sahuarita, AZ; Athens, OH; and Montrose, CO; and will open in Little Rock, AK. …Michaels opened in San Diego. … Hancock closed one store in Ft. Wayne, IN and opened a smaller one. But the displays will hold two to three times the merchandise – but it will only carry fabric and notions. … A.C. Moore opened in Port St. Lucie, FL.

QUILTS,I. The Kansas City Star recently profiled the Doan family and its Missouri Star Quilt Co. a store in Hamilton, MO, a town of 1,800 about 60 miles northeast of Kansas City. Visitors come from around the world, family members and 50 employees ship a thousand orders a day, and they’re rehabbing two downtown buildings, a hotel/retreat for out-of-towners. All this from a slow start in 2008. The cause? YouTube videos. Read about it HERE.

QUILTS, II. Jo-Ann stores have/will have four new quilt collections: House & Garden Collection from Cloud9 Fabrics (in stores now) … Coats & Clark‘s Eclectic Elements Collection by Tim Holtz (at select stores through August) … Juliana Horner’s Rosette Collection (in stores now) … Rendevous Collection from Modkid Studio (in stores Sept. 1). To see the entire collection, click HERE.

FINANCE. The Blackstone Group, half-owner of Michaels, was highlighted in the 7/19 edition of the Wall Street Journal: “[Blackstone] sold $1.6 billion worth of stakes in companies it owns and raised another $2.1 billion selling real estate during the [second quarter] period. The firm said it expected the robust climate for cashing out of past investments to continue.”

BTS, I. A National Retail Federation survey of consumers’ back-to-school spending plans predicts families will spend an average $634.78, down from $688.62 last year. Why the decline? The 2012 season was an all-time record, the NRF explains.

BTS, II. Jo-Ann is sponsoring a Teacher Appreciation Days event Aug. 10-11 giving 25% discount on all purchases. The company also has a Teacher Rewards Program that offers 15% off total purchases, with some exclusions.

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TECHNOLOGY, I. To read a report on an engineering student who made/invented a working 3D printer with Lego blocks. To read and see this remarkable creation readHERE.

TECHNOLOGY, II. The CHA exhibitor (mentioned above) was selling 3D printers for $1,000, but a recent L.A. Timesarticle profiled a store in Pasadena selling them for $650. The Times predicts the price will fall dramatically next year when key patents expire. Read the fascinating article HERE.

TECHNOLOGY, III. Several new smart fabrics are making their way to market including a Revolution bag that appears to magically repair itself when a hole is punched in it. Designer Suzanne Lee is looking at growing clothing from bacteria using a green tea and sugar solution to create a material that is similar to leather. The Wonderland project is at work creating clothes that dissolve to increase sustainability in the fashion industry. Read the article inPopular Science.

SHOWS, I. TNNA‘s Fall Needlecraft Market (Aug. 24-25 in St. Charles, MO) has made a key addition to the seminar/class schedule: Tammy Browning-Smith, an intellectual-property attorney, will explain how designers and vendors can protect their designs. To register, clickHERE. … The Bead Fest Philadelphia show is Aug. 23-25. Visit HERE for details. … Next year the Bead Fest Texasevent will be in March and rotate the event between Santa Fe, NM and Arlington, TX on alternate years.

SHOWS, II. The 2014 Creativeworld trade show (Jan. 25-28 in Frankfurt, Germany) will feature “Partner Country USA” for the first time. New exhibitors will find the U.S. Pavilion with its turnkey booths an opportunity to check out and expand into this marketplace at a reduced rate. The diversified frame program is designed to focus on the U.S. market and helps create awareness for U.S. exhibitors. CHA will “partner” the Pavilion. This year’s show had 239 exhibitors –162 from outside Germany – 7,205 attendees — 3,181 from outside Germany. For info, call Susanne Bacon at 253-212-1880 or email or email

WEBINAR. As a member of CHA, do you know all the benefits you can take advantage of? Probably not, because there are more than you might think. To increase your understanding, CHA VP of Membership Sue Turchick will host a webinar Aug. 14, 1-2:00 pm EST. To register, clickHERE.

JOB OPENING. American & Efird is accepting resumes for a Sales & Marketing Manager position in the Consumer Marketing Division in Mt. Holly, NC, just west of Charlotte.  The position acts as liaison between A&E and customers throughout the distribution channel — distributors, chains, independents, and consumers. Responsible for promoting A&E consumer products and helping A&E customers succeed, while achieving sales/profit goals. Qualifications: a minimum 5 years of experience in B2B sales, marketing, or product education/training roles. Consumer packaged goods experience in the craft industry is preferred. Bachelor’s degree required, as is 50%-70% travel. Email a resume and cover letter with salary requirements to Wesley Locust, Corporate HR Manager:

AWARD. C&T Publishing‘s Stash Books® title, Modern Patchwork, was a winner in the Crafts & Hobbies category by ForeWord Reviews, a publishing industry magazine and book review service that sponsors Book of the Year Awards JEWELRY. Cousin has named five additional Creative Circle Ambassadors, Allison Cooling, Dawn Doucette, Vicki O’Dell, Lisa Stukel, and Rebecca Utermohlen. As Ambassadors, they will have a platform to share ideas with the product development team, create projects for publications in magazines and on various social media platforms, preview upcoming programs, and provide feedback about products before they go to market. They are highlighted on the website,, and the Facebook page HERE. The company has also introduced a new stainless steel line that included toggle sets, chains, pins, charms, earrings, clasps, etc.

KIDS. Watch for a strong tv media campaign by Fibre-Craft for its new line of Bendastix kits. Bendastix are soft, squishy craft pieces that replace rigid cardboard or wood and can be used — and reused — build cars, flowers, glasses, a bracelet, etc. There are eight kits for kids 6 and older, from $6.99 to $19.99.

CRAFTSRowlux(R) Illusion Film is durable, translucent, 12″ x 12″ polycarbonate sheets that can be cut with scissors, scored, folded embossed, and die cut. Can be used to create craft projects, seasonal accents, party decorations, scrapbooks, greeting cards, jewelry, etc. There’s a blog hop, too, HERE.

STAMPS. Hampton Art obtained the rights to the Action Wobble brand in North America and will be distributing products from its Washington, NC warehouse. It’s available in 6 or 12 packs as well as 48, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 piece bulk packs. Email Lynn Toler at

PAINTING. The recent Artist Expo in Houston broke attendance records. Next year’s event is July 17-19. For info on exhibiting and proposing classes, visit … The new issue of Interactive Artist magazine is online HERE.

GOOD WORKS. Read about a program sewing colorful, fun hospital gowns for kids undergoing extensive hospital stays HERE.

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To read the latest listings click on Jobs in the left-hand column or click HERE.

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In his review of No Joke, by Ruth Wisse and The Joker by Andrew Hudgins, Edward Kosner cites a “classic Jewish joke”: A Jewish mother is at the beach with her 3-year-old son when a giant wave sweeps the boy out to sea. The hysterical mother prays, “God, if you return my son, I’ll keep a kosher home, go to temple every week and be a pious wife.” A second giant wave sweeps in and deposits the boy at his mother’s feet. The mother looks up at the sky and yells, “He was wearing a hat!”

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  1. If you want a hard-copy of this issue, click on “Printer Friendly version.”
  2. If your company is a paid subscriber, everyone in the main office is welcome to register, free. Just click on “Work for a paid subscriber? Click Here to register” (center column, near the top).
  3. If you ever have trouble with your password, click on “Trouble with your password?” in the right-hand column of the main page. The computer will then email the correct information to you.
  4. CLN is published the first and third Mondays of each month. Your next issue will be Monday, August 19.

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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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1. If you want a hard-copy of this issue, click on “Printer Friendly version.”

  1.  If your company is a paid subscriber, everyone in the main office is welcome to register, free. Just click on “Work for a paid subscriber? Click Here to register” (center column, near the top).
  2.  If you ever have trouble with your password, click on “Trouble with your password?” in the right-hand column of the main page. The computer will then email the correct information to you.

4. CLN is published the first and third Mondays of each month. Your next issue will be Monday, January 7. Have a wonderful holiday season and best wishes for a great New Year!

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