Sunday, October 4, 2009

Craft shopping

Things I bought at Hobby Lobby:
First, the non-bead things -
  • a few Christmas ornaments
  • some fall-themed napkins
  • a candle in a Ball jar, in a cinnamon-y fall kind of scent
(I am a sucker for the seasonal department, in general)
  • a couple of rubbers stamps on clearance, also holiday-themed
  • a few pieces of scrapbook paper, which I've been using for photo backgrounds
I noticed that I am starting to think like a jewelry-maker even for things that aren't jewelry: I saw an ornament I liked, except that it was awfully elaborate - a glittery bow above a glittery pointy-oval shape. I like glittery but this was a little big for the small-scale tree that I am planning on buying (see below for more about that), and then I thought, "Oh, look, it's just connected by a split-ring - I can just take these apart and use them separately!" So I bought it. (It helped that it was on sale.)

and then the beady stuff:
  • two tiny silver bumblebees, which I found in the clearance section. I am into charms lately.
  • a tube of gold 6/0 seed beads, which I am thinking of as spacers
  • 5mm wooden rondelles (with a really pretty variegated effect)
  • a string of glass puff coins in purple, with a geometric design on them. I will have to see if I can get these to scan, or get a picture. I was thinking they looked like they'd make good earrings.
  • a string of filigree charms, all the same shape but different metal colors, gold, silver and copper all in one set. They had a bunch of these in various shapes.
  • some more of the Aunt Lydia's crochet thread, in green, this time. I have been doing some crocheted jewelry that I will be posting pictures of later.
I also took some notes while I was there. I always go wandering down random aisles in craft stores, when I have time, because you can often find cool things in some very odd places. So I figured I'd better take notes or I'd never remember again later. For example, I found some oversized buttons in the drapery department, in really cute colors, and I stood there for several minutes trying to think how I could use them. They are very big - there were round ones that were about 2" in diameter, and slightly smaller squared-off ones that I think were meant to fit on top of the round ones. They could make a very cute brooch, for sure - but they are too big for most other jewelry uses, I think.

I have also gotten interested in tools, generally, and so I was eyeing the tack hammer, also in the drapery department, of course. But I've already bought a couple of hammers lately (a chasing one and a nylon one) so I couldn't really think of a dire need for another one! They also had those lampshades with the self-adhesive surfaces, which are interesting.

In the needlework department, there were lots of things that interested me:
  • wool roving and premade felt shapes
  • magnifiers of all shapes and sizes (you pass 40, you get much more interested in these)
  • all sorts of crafts that I forget about, like plastic canvas and latch hook kits
  • another brand of crochet thread besides the Aunt Lydia's, which is what I've been buying, and also metallicized "Knit-Cro-Sheen" thread (which I think I remember from back in the 70s)
  • in the middle of the yarn, a book called Knit with Deborah Norville (I'm sure the knitters know about this one already, but it amused me)
Hobby Lobby has soooooo much decorative stuff - you know, vases and platters and picture frames and various knick-knacks. Somebody is clearly buying this stuff, but it sure isn't me.

Then there's the department with fabric paint and such - what would you call that, the t-shirt department? although clearly people are painting and decorating lots of things besides t-shirts; there are even items apparently specifically intended to decorate flip-flops. (When did decorating flip-flops become a craft unto itself?) Flip-flops don't interest me much, I have to say. They had all sorts of stencils and cute iron-ons and such, though, and that did interest me more. And boas in all colors, which I can't resist trying to think of a use for - usually without much success. (Maybe I'll get one to wear to Quilt Festival or something.)

I suppose the flip-flop decorating market would largely be kids - at least I think so. But it's not like I'm uninterested in crafts aimed at kids, in any case. (I mean, look at the above comment about boas. Honestly, I'm either 49 or maybe 9 years old, depending on the moment.) And we won't even discuss the Ed Hardy (temporary) Tattoo Shop. I didn't buy it. I didn't even look to see how much it was. But I definitely can't say it didn't cross my mind.

I found that one out on a main aisle, next to a bunch of kids' Christmas crafts. But on the main kids'-craft aisle there were interesting things too. I have a bit of a fetish for stickers - I have since I was a kid - and I spent a few minutes trying to think up a use for some of the foam stickers I found there, but I didn't really come up with anything. (I have been trying to replace my sticker habit with buying the occasional rubber stamp instead - at least they're reusable.) They had, like, everything in the world made out of foam - foam shapes and foam stamps and 5"-high foam letters in various almost-primary colors. I thought the colors were a bit odd - like the red wasn't really a bright red but sort of an orangy, dull red - but there was also special foam paint ("Won't crack!") to repaint them with, if you cared to. I was tempted by an set of foam alphabet stamps in a cute, funky font, but I resisted.

Oh, and the also on that aisle was the squares of felt, in every color of the rainbow. I have some adorable felt Christmas ornaments that my mother made when we were little (at least, I think I still do, if they survived the storm!* I need to check that) but it's not the kind of thing I'm likely to ever do myself.

In the jewelry department, I've already listed what I actually got out the door with. I used to be very snobby about HL's jewelry department, mostly because early on I bought some stuff that I thought was metal, only to get home and find out it was metallicized plastic. But I think all of the chain craft stores - that is, Hobby Lobby, Michael's, and JoAnn's, which are the ones we have in this are - have improved their bead departments a good bit in the last year or two. Hobby Lobby now carries those short strings of beads very similar to ones you'd find at JoAnn's and Michael's, although they may or may not come from the same distributor. (I think they still could stand to label things much better. It's not too much to ask what the beads you're buying are actually made of!) Michael's still does the best, I think, on having a good assortment of "trend" kind of beads - like the vintage-looking ones that have been so popular the last couple of years, and stuff like that. But JoAnn's has a good bit of that stuff now, and HL is starting to get some too. (Even Wal-Mart has some now. But mostly I still think the quality of Wal-Mart's beading stuff is pretty inferior.)

I do think that those charms I bought were metallicized plastic, still. They're very light. But they were in an open package where I could shake them around and tell what I was getting before I bought them, so that makes it okay. And they're cute.

Hobby Lobby now also has Vintaj charms, but those were locked in a case, and I'm usually too lazy to hunt down an employee to get them to open it up for me. Plus, they weren't on sale, and I usually think it's a waste to buy anything that's not. I also was eyeing those Soft-Flex "Trios" of coordinating wire, but they seem really overpriced, to me. I'm not buying them without a sale, either.

Let's see, then... further down, on the other side of the kids' crafts, was an aisle with leather-tooling supplies. The thing I looked at there and didn't buy was leather laces - I've been meaning to try those out for necklaces. And then the next aisle down was the unexpected gold-mine - I guess I would call it the "miscellaneous craft" aisle because it had a bunch of different things - stuff for soapmaking, and to make your own stepping stones, and stained glass. And a lot of glass for mosiacs. But next to that was a line of stuff called Fuseworks, for making your own dichroic glass - has anybody tried this stuff? I may have to try it out, if I don't end up taking a dichroic class later. (Hmm, Annette seems to be teaching one later this month!) Across from that was the clay - several different brands. I need to watch for them to put that on sale, too! And a lot of supplies for that. I have been DV-R'ing Beads Baubles and Jewels and I have gotten very interested in clay, also. You see my problem? I'm interested in an awful lot of things!

* All the ornaments, and the two small artificial trees we had been putting them on, were in the utility room on the back porch during the storm. The ornaments and other decorations were mostly in plastic boxes but water got in some of them somehow, and I threw away a whole lot of ornaments, and both trees. (I figured the metal frames of the trees were liable to rust.) We did a good bit of decorating for Christmas last year but what we didn't do was buy another tree, and I've been planning to buy one this year. I need to get in those boxes and check to see what all is left before I go buying a bunch of ornaments. I had an awful lot of ornaments - we've been married over 20 years and I actively collected them for much of that time - so there are probably still plenty for a small tree.

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