A crafters’ paradise in our own backyard, Ben Franklin Crafts and Frame Shop, has a new “Create-n-Take” program featuring quick and inexpensive make-it-yourself projects. Every Sunday, from 1-3 p.m., novice crafters — or those who’ve mastered one skill but want to try another — can drop in and pay a nominal fee to participate.
It’s no coincidence that many of the upcoming “Create-n-Take” projects would be ideal for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or graduation gifts. Spring and early summer are full of happy occasions when we want to give our loved ones something special and personal, even if we’re low on cash.
For great Mother’s or Father’s Day gifts, Dee Bishel, class and event coordinator for Ben Franklin, suggested “mini-garden cement stepping stones.”
Making them is as easy as 1-2-3. For step one, you combine water and the cement mix. Step two is pouring the mix into a mold — the store carries molds shaped like circles, squares, hearts and more. For step three, you decorate the stone with gems, colored sand or other items also displayed nearby.
Vinyl lettering is another popular gift-making item at the store. The letters can go on tiles, glass, plastic or just about any surface to create a meaningful plaque. Store associates can even help you put a favorite family photo onto the plaque and seal it. You can create your own messages or choose from sayings such as, “Together we have it all,” or “Home Sweet Home,” and attach hooks for hanging them on the wall.
For graduations, “a lot of people come into our frame shop with their kids’ gorgeous senior portraits,” said Bishel. “And we have scrapbooking supplies including the colors and logos of every local school.”
Even if you’re not making your own gift, the store sells cute packaging for jewelry or money, such as gift boxes in the shape of a graduation cap or boxes that look like those used for Chinese take-out food.
The selection in the bead department at Ben Franklin is mind-boggling, with both simple and elegant beads in every color. A child can easily make a stretchy bracelet for about $5. And for $20 or less, you can make a nice necklace that looks no different than those at a boutique.
It’s impossible to describe every class or event at Ben Franklin, as the store offers nearly 100 each month. Quarterly schedules are available at the front of the store, 15765 Redmond Way; (425) 883-2050. Information’s also online at www.craftsandframes.com.