Wallingnford Center
Crackerjack Contemporary Crafts Newsletter
Celebrating the Handmade since 1986
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Issue: # 9   March/April 2009
 Well the calendar says it's Spring, we've changed the clocks, the crocus are up, but it still doesn't feel like Spring. But Spring is marching on despite the snow flurries and the cold winds. Soon it will be Easter, which for many is the true beginning of the season. Our Spring clothes have been arriving - great little fleece jackets from Basic Threads with trench coat references in cheery red and nautical navy, feminine, floaty dresses from Kamorov and fabulous tops from Niche in our favorite rayon crepe and lightweight linen, all in sophisticated hues reminiscent of Easter eggs.

And Spring, the season of new life and renewal is the perfect time to change your fragrance. Maybe something lighter than you wear in Winter, or something sexier to go with that flirty dress you'll wear with bare legs. Stop by and spend some time with our Zents fragrance and body care selection. There are ten unisex, multilayered fragrances available in an assortment of products, from an eau de toilette in an elegant bottle that comes with its own soapstone tray, to a luxurious bar soap that produce lather rich enough for a man to shave with, to the most effective lotion for skin appearance I've ever seen! One of the most popular and unusual products is their concreta, a soapstone box filled with a shea butter based solid perfume. Something about massaging this decadently scented balm into your pulse points feels extremely self-caring!

We have been the exclusive source for Zents products in Seattle for years, and it has a dedicated following, many of whom experienced the products first when they spent time at a spa. So this is your opportunity to create a spa experience for yourself at home! To get you started, we are offering a small gift with purchase, and for our email newsletter customers, a special offer at the bottom of this letter.

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Saturdays - now open until 8 p.m.!

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Upcoming Events
Saturday April 11 - Wallingford Center Merchants Annual Easter Celebration
Festivities begin at 9a.m.. Join us for an egg and candy hunt, The Bubbleman, meet the Easter Bunny, face painting and more! Bring a non-perishable food donation for our Spring Food Drive, and your basket! Wallingford Center closed Easter Sunday

Portraits of Autism -
photography exhibit to acknowledge Autism Awareness Month - SW Corner space, main level - Reception to be announced

Wednesday May 6 -
2nd Annual Wallingford Art  Walk resumes. 6-8 p.m.

Wallingford Center Farmers Market is back beginning in May - details to come!

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Things to Celebrate!

March is Irish American Month and National Women's History Month

March 8 -  International Women's Day

March 9 -  Barbie's Birthday

March 12 -  Girl Scout Day - When I sold Girl Scout Cookies they were 50 cents a box!

March 14 -  National Quilters Day

March 17-   St. Patrick's Day - Soda Bread, Boiled Dinner (corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, onions and carrots) and Guinness!

March 20 -  Spring Vernal Equinox - it's officially Spring

March 21 -  Fragrance Day - choose a new favorite Zents fragrance for Spring.

March 24 -  National Chocolate-Covered Raisin Day - really?

March 29 -  National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day - remember to support your local, small businesses. It keeps your money in your own community. Studies have shown that about 22 cents more of every dollar spent in a small locally owned business stays in the community, compared to a dollar spent in a national business.

March 30 -  Take a Walk in the Park Day - see you there! Scope out the best kite-flying places in preparation for April - National Kite Flying Month!

April is Autism Awareness Month and Animal Cruelty Prevention Month

April 1 -
  April Fool's Day

April 3 -   Find a Rainbow Day

April 7 -   World Health Day
               No Housework Day

April 12 - Easter

April 15 - Income Tax Day - oh yay!
              First McDonald's opened by Ray Kroc in Illinois in 1955

April 18 - Husband Appreciation Day - evidently this occurs on the 3rd Satuday of April. I wonder why I haven't heard of it before. Should we tell them?

April 19 - Passover

April 22 - Earth Day
              National Jelly Bean Day - now This is someone using their head! When better to celebrate this day than after Easter - another occassion to sell leftover candy!

April 24 -  Arbor Day - go plant a tree

Shopping Disasters

We've all been the recipient of poor customer service. I call them "shopping disasters". You can't find a salesperson to save your life, no one knows the answer to your question or is willing to find out for you, you wait in an interminably long line while a couple employees stand off to the side, deep in conversation.

Recently, our several month old telephone started to record incoming messages in such a garbled way that they were impossible to translate. The manual had troubleshooting tips which we exhausted to no avail; even reprogramming the phone didn't work. So I called the Customer Service number where I encountered a multi-level phone tree. There was no help in the menu for a phone that garbled messages, and no amount of pressing "0" connected me with a real human being who could help me. Exasperated, I unplugged the phone, moved the one from the back room to the front of the store and set off to the office supply store where I had purchased it. Here I was told that since the phone hadn't been purchased in the past fourteen days, they could not help me. I asked if they had a phone number which would connect me with a real person who could assist me and they gave me the same number as the one in my booklet. "But don't you have the number of a sales rep, or someone?" I asked. Of course they didn't. So back to the store I went, determined to get somewhere with a real person. This time I followed the menu to sales, and after several levels, I was actually connected to a real person! Had I tried this, that and the other thing? Yes, yes, yes! Finally, the woman told me that they would send a replacement phone, a new and improved model. I hope it lasts more than four months!

I realized that at Crackerjack, we really do provide good customer service. We spend a lot of time ordering a replacement for an earring that has been lost, special ordering things for our customers, calling artists to clarify questions. Our goal is to provide a comfortable, hospitable place to shop, where the person helping you can answer a question, and if they can't right at that moment, will find out and call you with the answer. If we are out of stock on an item, we will call you when we receive more. I love to hear the surprise in a customer's voice when I call regarding a requested item and they tell me that they've left their name and number at so many stores, and never get a call back!

Don't forget to take advantage of our gift-wrapping services, our Lay Away Plan, and our Customer Appreciation Program. And our expanding online selection! Our hope is that you will be our customer for a long time, and to that end we want to forge a relationship with you.

We want Crackerjack to be your favorite place to shop!

NEXT MONTH: Honoring Mom!

March is National Craft Month.  Of course, at Crackerjack , our tag line is "Celebrating the Handmade" and we do it every day and every month, and have been for 23 Years this May! Doing a craft, be it knitting, throwing pots, quilting and even cooking and baking, is something that feeds your soul, and I encourage everyone to take a bit of time this month and MAKE something with your own two hands. It may not be perfect, it may not be saleable, but it will give you some pleasure, hopefully (we don't want to add to anyone's frustration!), and a renewed appreciation for the work of others' hands.

Thank you for your continued patronage of a local independent business and for supporting American handmade!

Happy Spring!

Kathleen Koch
Crackerjack Contemporary Crafts

Carinn's Tuscan Bean Soup

1 stalk celery
1 med. Onion
1 clove garlic
tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. thyme
1 can chicken broth
2 cans white beans
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Fresh spinach - 1 head
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Saute onions and celery until soft. Add garlic for 30 seconds. Add broth, beans and spices. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Puree of soup in blender or food processor. Return to saucepan. Add spinach and lemon juice. Serve with Parmesan sprinkled on top.

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Savings  Tip:

Pour unused broth into an ice cube tray and freeze. Place cubes into a zip-lock bag and keep for those times you need a small amount of broth. Each cube is about a Tablespoon. They can be melted in the microwave or added directly into sauces, etc.

When a recipe calls for less than a full can of tomato paste, measure the remainder out by the Tablespoonful onto small pieces of plastic wrap and freeze. Next time, you won't need to open a new can.

Being naturally frugal, I have done this for years. I keep a plastic container in the door of my freezer just for these items. Besides saving money and not wasting food, you have the added bonus of feeling like Susie Homemaker!

Remember - A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned! And then you can use all those saved pennies to reward your homemaking skills with a new pair of earrings!

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Save 20%        Your entire Zents purchase!
        off                    Choose a new Zents scent for Spring and enjoy                                                                   20% off the entire purchase!
One coupon to a customer, please. May not be combined with                                    other offers and is not eligible for Customer Appreciation stamps.

Offer Expires: April 30,2009