Craft Supplies

Written by Shirley Parker
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The heady experience of walking into a craft supplies store, filled with dazzling colors and scents, is for some people like wandering into a candy store is for others. Whether we're initially going in for the latest chenille or eyelash yarn, or to get non-toxic glue, foam shapes and safe paints, so many choices face us. It usually takes a lot of self-control to buy only what we set out to get.

A smaller crafts store may have a less varied selection of supplies. On the other hand, the owner may deliberately specialize in top-of-the-line products that the chain crafts stores don't carry. Both sources will fill our project needs at different times, with the added advantage of personal attention when we need it.

Craft supplies are also available on the Internet through a surprising number of websites. Some supplies have a vast inventory in their own or third-party warehouses. Because of this, they sell "at a discount." Even so, it doesn't hurt to compare prices before filling a shopping cart.

A Time for Crafts

There's a time and a season for everything, so the sages of old have told us. And there's surely a time and then some, for crafts. Just about every holiday invites creativity. When birthdays and anniversaries are added, outlets for expressing ideas become as individual as the family occasions. Western themes for the descendants of ranchers may be celebrated side by side with multicultural traditions from many lands. Our Native American cultures have shared beautifully complex jewelry and beading that many children and adults fall in love with every year.

Anyone who regularly gives crafts as gifts, or helps adults and children make them, knows to start the cutting, coloring and pasting early. It's fun but it's also time-consuming work, while an unexpected glitch will set back the timetable. Those of us who forgot to plan ahead, end up in a hectic rush to get decorations made before whatever holiday or occasion we had originally targeted. Sometimes, we're getting after ourselves to finish the newborn layette before the child starts walking.

Buying Craft Supplies in Bulk

If we're teaching on a regular basis--a Girl Scout troop (Girl Guides in Canada and the UK), regular school or Sunday School class--buying in bulk can save money. The bigger packages of sticker sheets and beads, spools of lacing materials, and multi-packs of small glue bottles stretch the dollar. Even so, when funds arrive in smaller increments, bulk buying might not be feasible. Getting only what is needed can be a fact of life, even for fun or educational crafts.

Local craft stores don't always have the room for larger quantities of supplies. However, if you've ever tried to catch a yarn sale, it's quite amazing how fast shelves are stripped of skeins. Those stores that provide small shopping carts often see them overflowing at the checkout. Supermarket-size carts can result in jammed aisles and customers with bashed ankles, so some craft supplies stores simply don't permit them. Internet purchases usually have no "maximum quantity" sales, within reason.

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