My “TNT” Top 10 Shopping Smart Ideas


It’s “TNT” time…This -N- That Thursday!


 Today’s post is in honor of the many people I will see this weekend, as I share my art at a craft fair two-day event.

Shopping at a craft far, a business expo, an art exhibit sale or even a large rummage sale can be stressful. Allow Club Creative Studio to share tips to perhaps make it easier.

Avoid an overwhelming event, by considering my smart shopping tips.I’d like to offer suggestions in what you may want to consider before, during and after participation.  In this post I am not writing as through the vendor or artist’s eyes but, from the view of the customer in attendance.  I hope that this type of information can make your visit and experience enjoyable.

If attendance is a spur of the moment decision, then only a portion of these hints listed may be helpful..  In part, you can consider as many tips that can apply to you.

This first point is crucial:

1.  Mark your calendar in advance and accurately.  Take specific notes of time, location, parking and special attractions to remember.  The more you know in advance, the smoother your start will be.  Take note if there is an entrance fee so you are ready and prepared.

2. Dress for your personal comfort.  Appropriate clothing and especially walking shoes will take you far in comfort as you walk.  Depending on the size of the event, you may plan to be there for over an hour at least.  Being comfortable can extend your shopping experience if you need it to.

3. Drive a vehicle that has adequate room for the number and size of purchases you may be bringing home or, be ready to make additional pick up arrangements of an oversized item purchased if possible.

4. If you are bringing children in tow, hopefully adequate room is available for strollers or a wagon to tote them in.  More often than not there is not much room for running, spirited children to be physically expressive in these spaces.  It also may not be safe to allow a young child to wonder because of the close quarters, many tables, cords, or blocked spaces.  It is also noteworthy to bring bottled water for your comfort, know where the restroom location is and take note of the fire escape doors, not to mention where you parked outside. Safety first, please.

5. Bringing many different types of payment forms can work to your benefit.  While not all vendors will or can accept the same payment methods, this gives you options to pay as you wish.  Be aware that businesses that are serious and legal are charging all appropriate taxes on their products. Some may “round-off” on the price of an item to include it and avoid dealing with coin change.  This is what I prefer to do to save time for myself and the customer especially. And, if you think that you may be bringing home many treasures, I also suggest that a large carry shoulder/tote bag be brought from home to collect your goods.  Some vendors may not box or bag your purchases the way you’d like for collective shopping.

6.  If you know a particular vendor or item of interest will be there, make that booth or person an early stop, you will want to be focused from the beginning no matter how leisurely you have planned out the day.  Once you set foot in a venue, you can get easily distracted and over-whelmed by the crowds, the number of booths, and the items that you happen to see first upon entering in the doors. 

7. Having a list in hand of your needs, wishes, gift suggestions, specific colors or styles to keep a look-out for, even questions to ask would be helpful to keeping your viewing, and buying on track.

8. Many shoppers have a technique that I have seen in practice, especially if there are many booths or similar items offered at an event.  I call it “making the rounds”.  This implies a shopper literally walks by each booth and has  taken visual and mental notes of what is offered.  Then, on their second visit (walk around), they elect to spend more time in viewing a product or talking.  For me, as a vendor, I can’t tell if that is your intention so if I am able to hand you a flyer, business card or other literature on your first round, you can remember to return to me specifically or have the needed information at hand to visit me on the website, blog or Facebook if you have to leave.  Also, I tend to add additional items to the tables at different times, so making numerous rounds past my booth means that you will be seeing new items that you may not have seen in the other views you had, while at the same time if something is missing it was sold!

9.  Take all information handed to you.  If you run out of time or want to explore a business and their offerings later, you have their

Club Creative Studio- business card back

 information for your records if you need it or you can pass it along as a referral to someone else.  Also, take time to ask questions.  This is a valued time that you get to be face-to-face with a business, the artist, or a customer service representative and this is the time to ask what you are wondering about.  If you are shy or find that information is being shared in a group setting, then simply listen and gather information as it is being offered.  You are surely going to learn what makes the item(s) in front of you so special, if you don’t learn something and the person behind the booth table looks or acts like they do not want to be there take that as a hint.  I feel that most people are and should be proud of what they can offer you I know I am. 

10.If this event is billed as a two-day event, do not assume that prices will drop on the second day.  If anything, especially at craft fairs, the first day has the most variety and selection because artist’s can only bring a limited supply of their art for display.  Also, reputable business booths may not “haggle” with you on their prices.  Some event planners do not even allow it or signage to be displayed to indicate specific price reductions, flashing lights, or calling out for such attention.  To me, I value my artistically created products just as much as the start of an event than at the end.  With fair prices to begin with there is no real need to dispute, question or expect price reductions at the end of the day.

With a bit of preparation on your part, your shopping experience can be a joy as well as informative and productive.  Good luck for a fun time at the next craft fair, business expo, art exhibit gathering or even yard sale site you attend.  I hope these hints help you out!

Please like & share:


Here is another way of experiencing  “cheap entertainment”.  Since it is Club Creative Studio’s TWO CENT TUESDAY post today, I hope to pass along a few ideas you can use to challenge your children and make use of your coins while they are sitting in a piggy bank, and collective jars. Consider entertainment using your actual collected coins as a source for entertainment of your children.  It costs mere pennies literally!

Give children a handful of spare change and allow or show them how to be creative for a few minutes or part of an afternoon. First make sure they are old enough to handle coins and not ingest them or use them unsafely.  Supervise and participate in their activity.   If a child already has a coins saved up in their own piggy bank , they can use those and then return them after they have been used in a coin game.

Children can make a coin mosaic picture or try to balance pennies on or between their toes for some interesting challenges.  Use as a


sorting activity and have them sort all of the pennies by dates.  Count them and place in piles to add to the paper wraps needed to exchange at a bank.  Practice fine motor skills by stacking coins in a tower and see how many can be added before a tumble of coins.  If a jar of pennies are presented perhaps they can carefully observe each one to see if there may be a “wheat penny” in the mix.

Can the child find a penny from the year each family member was born?  Older children can research an event that occurred in history during each year for which they have a penny. Find out why some years are more numerous than other years.  Maybe even stay busy shining pennies for finger manipulation and exercise.

Penny  tossing games can be easily arranged.  NOT penny throwing but, penny tossing…there IS a difference. Gather various sized clean and empty containers recycled from kitchen use.  As examples use an empty mayonnaise jar, an egg carton, plastic baby food jar, milk carton cut out from the top spice containers.  Use them to plop in coins from a few steps away from the containers. See what they catch. After a few rounds, children will discover which containers are easier to toss coins into. They can assign points for each jar, giving more points to the bottles they rarely hit and fewer points to the containers that catch the most pennies. They can also make the game more difficult by taking another step away from the containers.

Let’s get even more creative with those pennies. Give each child a couple of handfuls of pennies or other coins. Instead of drawing a picture, children use the coins like mosaic tiles, creating a picture on a flat surface. Place the coins close together to simulate solid shapes. Use different coins to create accents in the picture.  Making an image with the coins and adding a few drawn details for older children can also be just as challenging and innovative.  If an image is worthy of keeping don’t glue the pennies to paper but, simply take a photo and print it out and frame!

Do you like what I created as an example?

Coin art idea- Club Creative Studio

Here is a nice summer day activity or in the winter you can do this indoors:  have your children take off their shoes and socks and set a penny on each big toenail. Children then try walking, keeping the coins from slipping off their toes. If that becomes easy, they can try setting pennies between each of their toes and walk around the room while squeezing their toes together.

With a couple handfuls of pennies and other coins, children can try a sorting game, play a toss game, make a picture, or and attempt a balancing challenge. Children can occupy themselves for a few minutes or an hour with the above activities.  But, I can’t estimate how long it might take for an adult to do the same activities!

There is no end to the creative things that one can do for little or no money.  That is the purpose of the TWO CENT TUESDAY posts to give you ideas and encourage you to BE CREATIVE EVERYDAY like me!
Have fun and good luck as you continue to save more coins… for more fun activities.
Please like & share:



Image: Copyright 2011 Club Creative studio

This should make your brown eyes blue.

Blue is a very popular color.  Why is blue so common?  Consider this: The color blue is symbolic in many areas of life, including clothing choices, automobile colors, interior design elements, art, and religion.  It even affects our mood. 

Although blue is even more popular in the western world than is other areas of the world, blue skies and blue water are full of positive meaning in every culture.  Where I live, many speak of the “Carolina Blue” sky and of course across our coastline, ocean blue is a very relaxing and identifying color here. 

Blue is a beloved color around the world. Isn’t is true that we are known to live on the big “blue marble?”

Is Blue Everyone’s Favorite Color?

 More people claim blue as their favorite color than any other color (over 50%). Blue jeans are the most common clothing material in the western world. Men and boys in particular favor blue. In your life time can you claim that you have had at least one blue car, truck, bike, piece of furniture, coat, or mug?  Perhaps you can answer yes to this thinking of someone else?

It is interesting to research by reading about color, color combinations, color schemes and color symbolism. I have learned that is has

Image: Copyright Club Creative Studio 2011

been said that  people who wear light blue are said to be analytical and have a practical approach to life. People who wear dark blue are intelligent and self-reliant and take on a great deal of responsibility. In any case, people are comfortable with blue and return to blue again and again. 

 This is information that is useful to me when I create jewelry or other home decor items.  If a certain color is popular and draws attention to someone then it is fitting that I offer items in the color choices that are appealing and demanded.



2011 Club Creative Studio


Multiple Meanings

 Other associations to the color blue include:  freedom, strength and new beginnings, optimism, opportunities, loyalty, faith, power and protection. Do you agree? The color blue is all around us.  Blue is commonly used in national flags, and symbols around the world to include the flag of the United Nations.  The color blue on websites to suggest professionalism and seriousness in business.  You surely want to win that “blue ribbon” at the state fair, wonder about the event that will happen “once in a blue moon.”  You may know that a person born of royalty or in the upper class is a “blue blood.”  There are many color blue associations to continue, Picasso’s “Blue Period” and singing the musical “blues.” What do you think about or feel when you see or use the color blue around you?

Religious Color Symbolism

In Greek and Roman days, blue symbolism was associated with the sky gods Jupiter, Juno and Mercury. In Judaism, blue symbolism is connected to God the Father. In the Catholic Church, blue symbolism is most closely related to the Virgin Mary, the Queen of Heaven. In Islam,blue symbolism (including turquoise) is the color both of religion and community and is often used for decorating mosques.

Blue Symbolism and Interior Design

Thinking about using the color blue in your everyday surroundings?  It is said that light and softer blue tones alleviate insomnia, so they may be good choices for bedrooms. Royal blue is appropriate for dining rooms and living rooms, in interior design choices, and combinations of blue and yellow are often used in kitchens. Blue is also a natural choice for bathrooms due to the color associations with water.

For further exploration about color, have fun checking out the following listings:


Please like & share:

Wear and Tear + Care

It’s TNT Thursday:

“This-N-That” Thursday

I am wondering which metals you like to wear most in jewelry.  Also, if you like to give gifts, which type metal do you most often give as a gift? Commonly, I create silver, gold, brass, and copper-colored metal items, and I also love to also mix these metals together for unique creations.   There are also other types of metals that you may be familiar with like rose gold, platinum, and yellow gold, for example.  Each has its own special qualities and demands specific care.

The question posed on the Club Creative Studio Facebook Fan Page is: “Which metal do you wear most often, gold, silver, brass or copper?”  Feel free to visit that site to place your opinion in view there or at the bottom of this post as well.  Why would I be curious to learn of your answers?  I would like to offer a few tips you may use to care for what you like and wear most often.  A lot of people will suggest toothpaste as a cleaner solution – and it does get your jewelery clean – but the fluoride in it will also damage the metal.

Stainless Steel  Stainless Steel is a metal with many uses. Most commonly, stainless steel is seen in kitchen ware (cookware and cutlery), appliances, hardware, art-deco sculptures and architecture, and jewelry. Stainless steel is a silvery-white color with a mirror finish that retains its shine and color very well and resists tarnishing. The most popular uses for stainless steel in jewelry are watches, bracelets, rings, earring posts and body jewelry because it is easy to clean. Stainless steel jewelry does not rust, and it will not discolor some skin types like other traditional alloys.

Brass   The oils in our skin react with the brass and turn its color in course of time. If you want to retain the natural color of a brass surface, do not touch it with bare hands. It is better not to use any strong chemical or abrasive for cleaning brass because they will destroy the finish and the original shine. Abrasives will leave fine scratches which will tarnish faster. Do not use substances like Muriatic Acid. It not only leaves stains on the brass surface, it also produces dangerous fumes. Olive oil slows the formation of tarnish. So if brass is rubbed with a cloth moistened with olive oil after each polishing, brass will look brighter for a longer period of time. If you’re not sure that your item is really made of brass, use the magnet test. If a magnet sticks then it is not brass.

Gold – When properly cared for, gold jewelry may last forever. It is always best to store each individual piece separately away from other jewelry pieces.  Pieces can touch, rub and scratch one another.  This is one reason why Club Creative Studio includes complementary protective pouches with each purchase.  We want to help you protect your investment in your art, no matter if it is a metal finish or a clay or glass creation. Remove your jewelry pieces before bathing or doing strenuous duties. Soap will cause a film on gold.

You can clean gold with commercial products, just be sure to read the directions. A selvyt cloth is a soft cloth good for polishing. A gold polishing cloth has two layers – one is for polishing and the other layer has a polishing compound (rouge) to buff out small scratches. But be careful, using this cloth on jewelry with gemstones can scratch them. Most jewelers will do a good job in cleaning, you can always ask how they will perform the service as well, it is your right to know what they will do to your item.

White gold  White gold has the same properties as yellow gold, but it has been mixed with different metals to give it a white color. Instead of the copper and silver used in yellow gold, white gold contains such metals as nickel, zinc, or even platinum. However, white gold should not be confused with platinum, which is much rarer than gold and hence more valuable. Sometimes, white gold is plated with a white metal, such as rhodium (a very rare member of the platinum family), to enhance its appearance.

Silver – Cleaning silver is similar to cleaning gold, except you may want to use a special silver cloth to help remove tarnishing with gentle rubbing. Be careful to use this special cloth only when there is evidence of tarnishing. If used on a piece that is marked “tarnish free” you will actually be removing the coating. Use a selvyt cloth in those instances. And make sure if you take it to be cleaned that they know the specific metal type.

Platinum – Care for platinum is similar to gold and silver. Platinum will actually need less maintenance because of its durability.

Pewter  Pewter has had many uses throughout history. Since the Middle Ages pewter has been used in dishes, utensils and serving ware, as well as in decorative items such as sculptures, candlesticks, ornaments and jewelry. Pewter is a soft metal and easily malleable by hand tools for carving, engraving, or presses, which makes it an excellent choice for detailed jewelry or keepsake pieces. Like sterling silver, pewter is shiny and bright, but it needs regular cleaning to maintain its luster.

I hope that you can recall and possibly use the advice above to care for your jewelry, no matter what metal it is made from.  You have invested your money and emotional connection to your jewelry and you want to know how to care for it with the wear and tear situations.

Please like & share:

Mashed Potato Brain Syndrome


It’s Two Cent Tuesday!


Enjoy exploring this low-cost activity to cure the lack of creativity disease.

Do you have or are suspect to get  Mashed Potato Brain Syndrome?  Do you suffer from lack of creative ideas or experience occasional creative blocks? Do you describe your brain as being made of “mush” at any low point of the day? If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you may identify with claiming the illness: Mashed Potato Brain Syndrome.  Fear not.  There is a known cure for when your brain feels like mush.



Hints you have Mashed Potato Brain Syndrome:

  • You can not capture or act upon creative urges
  • You describe your brain as “mush”
  • You can’t imagine what will possibly inspire you
  • You would rather sleep or eat some variation of a potato dish than work

There is a creative cure to the disease I call “Mashed Potato Brain Syndrome”.  To challenge your weak spots in gaining or producing creatively, you need to exercise.   Exercising your MIND does allow your brain to stay on top and alert.

You may not always be open to, think or recognize how you can capture your creative energy.  Having a Creative Block is much like what is known to be Writer’s  Block.  There is much debate on the term “writer’s block”.  And the same can probably be said for “artist’s block”.

 I don’t believe in writer’s block. The cure: pick up the pen and get moving. Go, 10 minutes, tell me everything you know about mashed potatoes. — Natalie Goldberg

There… that is at least two cents worth of wisdom.  This low-cost activity will serve as a jump-start to transform the mush brain into an active brain that will spark with creative energy once the ideas start to flow.  What did your list look like?

Please like & share:

Special Feature: Military Theme Art

Special Feature Theme Post: Honoring our Military

Club Creative Studio proudly supports the United States Marine Corps’ troops serving stateside and abroad.  By special requests, I create a variety of theme jewelry and art.  I support the military community and I am ready to provide art that represents pride of service and dedications.

By custom request, I have created necklaces, bracelets, and artisan bottle stoppers in red, white and blue colors, and specific military branch colors with added service branch charms.  They have been especially enjoyed as great gift-giving items for retirements, as perfect hostess gifts paired with wine, and as a special treat for someone purchasing for themselves who have a connection with a military branch of service.

The unique 3-D, hand-made pendants are created as one-of-a-kind and exclusively with the United States Marine Corps theme. Carefully selected globe and anchor emblems are incorporated in the art and are accompanied with a simple wrapped cord or simple strand.

The art is meant to invoke elegance, pride, style, functionality and symbolic meaning.  It is all about mixing tradition with art.

Please keep in mind all those who sacrifice their time, talents, and life in service to our country and for our freedoms.



Celebrating a military wife's recent tsunami survival 2011
Please like & share:

Artistic April Showers?


Club Creative Studio’s Tuesday blog posts always introduce you to a way that you can explore a low-cost creative venue.  You or someone else can use this idea of creativity to better the day.  You don’t have to save this art project for a rainy day but, it would make a great activity for such a time.  The other options are to use this as a creative outlet for expression of an awareness or as a unique gift.

Club Creative Studio, 2010

If where you live you can relate to the saying:  April Showers Bring May Flowers, then you are looking  just around the corner for the rain to start pouring more often.

This pink umbrella was hand-painted with images that represent the theme of  Club Creative Studio’s jewelry making.   I first made a list of all of the items that I use on a daily basis when I create my hand-made jewelry.  The next step involved pencil drawing all of the elements incorporated from that list onto the umbrella. 

With acrylic paints, I hand-painted in all of the areas making a focus on the black outlined

Artist: Veronica Campos-Hallstrom

 areas as part of the design.  Acrylics are an easy clean-up paint and available in a formula especially made for outdoor exposures.

The last step involved an option of applying a final protective gloss coating.  You could easily use a spray acrylic topcoat or do as I did and hand brush an acrylic medium sealant.

This project was on display at the 2010 Coastal Carolina Artists and Crafters Guild Spring Outdoor Craft and Car Show, downtown  Jacksonville, North Carolina.  Among the unique umbrella display, were several themed painted umbrellas that were created  to commemorating the 275th Birthday of Onslow County. 

 The second photo was my contribution to the birthday theme, where all of the items painted are representative as a scene or item highlighted in Onslow county.  It was a fun project.

Artist: Veronica Campos-Hallstrom

This idea was so inexpensive and the whole family was witnessed to the creative process from start to finish.  It was inspirational to my daughter who in her own creative way, wanted to use the same techniques to create a unique birthday gift for her best friend.  Her ideas also came easily and her theme was “friendship”.  She included images that they had in common, as well as inspirational and meaningful quotes, symbols and bright colors to make her birthday special by sharing a hand-made gift that was both fun and functional.  It was a huge thrill to know that the art was worked on over a course of several days to include several hours of work time. 

Hand-painted umbrella gift.

Needless to say she was thrilled to share such a meaningful gift and the birthday girl had never seen such a unique gift.  I was also proud of her creative outcome and the dedication she contributed to the well appreciated gift to her friend.  I must also mention that not only the outside of the umbrella honed her art, the underside was entirely hand-written with a spiraling continuous note of fun wishes and strung sentences that completed the perfect gift.

My daughter gave a great gift!

You are welcome to use this idea.  It can truly be well received in many different gift giving situations.  Are

Artist: M. Hallstrom

 you a “room-parent” looking to include the classroom students in a gift idea for the teacher?  Do you have a friend in the neighborhood that is moving and you want to send them off with an autographed umbrella?  Maybe you just want to be more fashionable the next time it rains and you have to use that boring umbrella you normally use?  Think of this project for your next artful gift.  A note to keep in mind is that umbrellas come in different sizes and you can hunt for a used one or an inexpensive one in a local dollar-theme store.  Happy painting!

Please like & share: