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Issue: # 16   November 2009

   Can it really be November? This time of year is so filled with preparations and Stress! An artist called the other day to find out when I would like her to deliver her ornaments. Sandy makes wonderful ceramic bells that are each inscribed with holiday wishes in one of thirty different languages. She is going to bring quite a few, and we've talked about display options, and I had told her we'd like them before Thanksgiving. We like to have pretty much everything in the store by then so we can price and process everything, have it displayed and back-stocked. I like the store to be ready - stocked, staffed, decorated and ready to go - the day after Thanksgiving. Anyway, I'm talking to Sandy and looking at the calendar, and just about having a panic attack - Thanksgiving is almost here, and I'm not ready!!!

   So that was last week. This week I feel more ready after some focused list making and doing. I never feel completely ready. Does anyone?

   The store is filling up. At one point I fear all the doors are going to blow off the cupboards! Then we have a few busy days and the tension eases. We have shipments arriving daily, many with new artists' lines, many with new work by favorite, familiar artists.

   One artist whose work we've carried for a long time is Phil Shelton. I received a letter the other day from Phil. He is one of the artists whose work we've carried for over twenty years - probably twenty-three, in fact! He makes those fantastic hoop earrings, in both sterling and gold-filled, that are a wardrobe essential! They come in a variety of sizes, from small enough to just skirt the earlobe, to big statement size hoops. Anyway, I always enjoy Phil's letters. He is a great marketer, always keeping in touch, making sure we have current price lists, and photos, reminding us that no order is too small. Many of his missives contain his latest rant or ponderings on anything from the price of gold to the state of the Union, not in a preachy way, but with humor and wit. But this most recent letter I found particularly entertaining, so called to ask Phil if I could include it in our newsletter. It's the first Turtle Story below.

   A lot of people have been in doing some "pre-holiday looking". And there are those few who are almost finished with their holiday shopping. For the rest of us, this season signals the beginning of the process.
Remember that at Crackerjack we have always offered Lay-Away, and now is a great time to use it. You make your selection now, put a 25% deposit on it, and you have sixty days to finish paying for it and pick it up! Some customers make regular payments throughout that time period, others just pay the balance when they need the gift and pick it up then. We're easy, and we want to help make life easy for you, and assist with your holiday shopping, and ensure you get the items you want!
    And speaking of easy, don't forget to shop online with us. We are always expanding our website, and it's a convenient way to shop for your out-of-town friends and relatives, or for them to shop for you! We have just added
Gift Certificates to the website, both those to be used online and those which are sent to the recipient to be used in the store. So if you haven't checked in for awhile, now is a good time to take a look, and get your shopping juices flowing!

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       Saturdays - now open until 8 p.m.!

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BNW Ad and Coupon Upcoming Events

Please Join Us
Holiday Open House at Wallingford Center

Saturday December 5, 5 to 8 p.m.

Help us kick off the Holidays with an evening of Food, Shopping,   Fashion and Fun!

Fashion Show Extravaganza begins at 6p.m.

Create a Magical Memory! Pictures with Santa and Family Portraits
Bookings available through December 31.

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Things to Celebrate!

Nov. 2 -  National Authors Day
              Daniel Boone's Birthday

Nov.3 -  Sandwich Day
              First Dog in Space - 1957

Nov. 4 -  King Tut Tomb discovered 1922
              First Wagon Train reached California
              National Candy Day

Nov. 5 -  National Donut Day

Nov. 6 -  National Nachos Day
              Saxophone Day
              Basketball Day

Nov. 7 - Hug a Bear Day - I would suggest a Stuffed Bear!

Nov. 9 -  Berlin Wall Opened 1989

Nov. 10 -  Marine Corps Birthday - Uh Rah!
                 Sesame Street Premiere 1969

Nov. 11 -  Veteran's Day - buy a Paper Poppy!
                Washington State Admission Day

Nov. 13 - International Day of Kindness
               Sadie Hawkins Day - it's funny how things are celebrated differently in other parts of the country. Sadie Hawkins Day was celebrated by having a dance where the girls asked the boys. Here it's called a Tolo. Can anyone tell me where that comes from?

Nov. 14  - Claude Monet's BirthdayNational
                Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day

Nov. 17 - National Homemade Bread Day
               Take a Hike Day
Nov. 20 - Traffic Light Patented 1923

Nov. 23 - National Cashew Day - hey, Carole Anne!
Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day

Nov. 24 - Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day

Nov. 25 - Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer released 1946

Nov. 26 -
                King Tut's Tomb Opened 1922 (Ewa is in Egypt right now!)

Nov. 30 -
Mark Twain's birthday 1835
               Mason Jars Patented 1958

November is Peanut Butter Lovers Month

Turtle Stories

My friend Jennifer found a turtle. It was just walking down the center of the street and she "rescued" it! The turtle is a large "pet shop" turtle, the kind found in lakes and ponds all over the United States. It is one of those that has a red stripe on its face and will grow to be as big as eight inches across. This one (ours) is a bout six inches across. We took it to the Botanical Gardens where there is a pond with other turtles of the same kind residing in it. "Our" turtle may have come from there, as they almost never grow big in captivity. In fact, every kid who ever had one from a pet shop probably buried his departed turtle in a matchbox. Some people call these turtles by the name "matchbox turtle" because of the high mortality rate. "Our" turtle would have a much better fate in store and with luck a much longer life....a very long life as that is how it is with turtles!
I put the turtle in a Danish Butter Cookie tin. I emptied out the center compartment of my camera bag, and hid the cookie tin, with the turtle enclosed, inside the bag. Then Jennifer and I drove up to the Botanical Gardens. I flashed my membership card, smiled broadly, then we walked right in. I didn't even break a sweat! While I have been to the Botanical Gardens many times, I was stressed about smuggling the turtle. There were some new paths and it took me awhile to find the right path to the right part of the pond. Jennifer put "our" turtle about three feet from the pond and I "thought" I would take a photo...that is what I thought. The turtle knew where the water was and in a flash...he ran to the edge and dived right in. He hit the water swimming. He surfaced to look around (we like to think it was to say thanks and good-bye) and then ducked under the surface of the water and got on with his new life! I haven't felt so good about anything for a long time!
I didn't know turtles could run....They can really turn it on when necessary. I didn't get a photo, in fact, I didn't even cock the shutter.
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Phil's story reminded me of my own turtle experience when I was about eight. I had awakened early on a Saturday morning, and gone over to my best friend, Melinda's house. Unlike our house, hers was a one-story, so I could tap at her bedroom window to wake her up, and she would quickly dress and come outside to play. On this particular morning, she went back inside to get some oranges for us to eat, and I was waiting on her front porch, occupying myself by looking at the house across the street. After a while, I realized that what had appeared to be a lost coat on one of the driveways was in a different place than I had remembered. A while later I looked again, and the "coat" had definitely moved! Melinda returned, oranges in hand, and after consuming them while watching to see if my "coat" moved, we decided to cross the street and have a look. It was not a coat. It was a huge turtle. It was probably two feet or more long!

Well, the day before, my mom had announced that she'd met our newest neighbors. They didn't have any kids, she told us, but they did have a big turtle. Aha, I thought! I know who this turtle belongs to - it must have escaped! And being full of eight-year-old certainty, we marched over to their front door and rang the bell. By now, it is about eight a.m., these people don't have kids, and two neighborhood kids are ringing their doorbell! Finally, the woman comes to the door in her robe, and we breathlessly tell her that we've found her escaped turtle. But, she tells us, she is not missing her turtle. But have you checked on it lately, we ask? Because there's a big turtle in the driveway down the street. She said she was sure that her turtle was safely in its home in the upstairs study (Melinda and I looked at each other - who has an upstairs study?), but she would check on it, and also ask her husband to come take a look at the one we'd found.
Pretty soon her husband arrived, a turtle identification book in hand. He figured it was a snapping turtle - good thing we hadn't gotten too close!- and went to call the zoo to find out what to do with it. He returned with one of those big cardboard tube drums, and tried to coax the turtle into it. At last he was successful, wrestled the drum into the trunk of his car, and asked us if we wanted to go with them to take it down to the zoo. The zoo would identify it, quarantine it, and either return it to a habitat, or include it in an appropriate display. Both Melinda and I ran off to get parental permission. My parents were still in bed. "Mom, I said," Melinda and I found a turtle, and we thought it was the new neighbors', but it wasn't, so now they're going to take it down to the zoo, and can I go with them?" What can I say - it was a different era! So we went to the zoo, and out to breakfast afterward.

When we'd go to the zoo after that, we always had to go see "our" turtle. Melinda remembered a specific scar on its shell, so we would look for that, and say Hi and Hope you're happy!. It wasn't until we were adults that Melinda finally confessed to me that she hadn't remembered anything particular about "our" turtle's shell, but had wanted to make sure to claim one of the turtles as our very own.
I don't remember the names of the neighbors, and they didn't live there very long, but what a magical memory they made for two little girls, and one turtle very far from home!

NEXT MONTH: Festivities

 Thank You for your continued patronage of a local independent business and for supporting American handmade! Have a great and grateful Thanksgiving!

Kathleen Koch
Crackerjack Contemporary Crafts

Since November is Peanut Butter Lovers Month, I decided to include a recipe for Buckeyes given to me by Jill DeGreen,  former employee and current owner of Bleu Papillon in Magnolia Village (a great shop to check out!). Buckeyes are an actual nut from an actual tree prevalent in Ohio. You've all heard the term before, I'm sure, if you're a sports fan. Now I don't know which sport, but I know the term from being a Mid-Westerner!

  2 (16 oz.) jars peanut butter
  1 3/4 (16 oz.) packages confectioner's sugar
  1/2 cup melted butter
  1 1/2 (12 oz.) packages semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1 T. shortening

  1. Blend together the peanut butter, sugar and melted butter. Allow to chill in the refrigerator.

  2. Roll into 1 inch balls and return to the refrigerator.
  3. In a double boiler over medium heat, melt the chocolate and shortening. Whisk together until smooth.

  4. With a toothpick inserted in the balls, dip them into the chocolate so they look like buckeyes (about 3/4     of the way covered). Place on waxed paper and allow to set up in refrigerator.

  Yield: 72