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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