I used to collect rubber stamping and scrapbooking manuals like a good little addict. Somerset Studios, Visual Chronicles, Rubber Stamp Journal...I loved them. But after a while these 'manuals' started to frustrate me.
I live in a small town, in a country with no Target or Michael's or giant craft store. Where I live you can't just dash out and pick up a hand press (a mythical item I've never even seen in real life), a bone folder, or a heating pad. There are no star-shaped punches or gilt frame stickers to be found, no ink pads in jewel colours, no....I'll stop now, before my blood pressure goes any higher.
What a good crafter does in this country is go on the hunt. Hardware stores are your best friend. Need an eyelet punch? Hit up a Handyman for a belt hole puncher and pliers and then the local bespoke tailor for your eyelet rings--figure out the rest on your own.
My mom makes jewellery and we've been looking for wire she can make into links for two weeks. Nothing of the right size or pliability in the local malls. We had to go to the fish market! After several dead ends (did you know hardware stores close for lunch?) we wound up in a deep, dark, hole-in-the-wall store specialising in fishing tackle. Think Narnia but dirtier. Finally she found the perfect wire--Seahorse leader line, used in trawl nets. While she was adding a batch of guitar strings (which, how?) to her find, I was nervously eyeing up a set of fish hooks, carefully taped down under the glass shelves to protect unwary elbows.
No glitter, no ribbons, no fancy scalloped scissors. But they had what we wanted, and if my mom hadn't been willing to stomp around a smelly wet market I would never have known where to find it. Wear waterproof shoes and a thief-proof shoulder bag, and always wash your hands. That's hardcore crafting.
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