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11-21-02: For the joy of it
Artists to teach local residents how to make Christmas greetings

Standard Correspondent
    NEW BREMEN - When talking with Cindy Stienecker, who designs and makes her own greeting cards, the first question that comes to mind is why would anybody do that, when you can walk into any discount store and buy a whole box of them for $2.99?
    She is quick with her answer.
    "It's the joy of it," she said. "Plus, it means so much more for someone to receive something that's handmade. Anybody who gets one is just amazed - not only a handwritten note, but a homemade card, too."
    And lest we think she is setting impossibly high standards in correspondence, with her handwritten notes and her homemade cards, she is quick to quash that as well.
    "It's unbelievably easy" to make the cards, she said. "Truly, there is nothing to it. Anybody can do it."
    She plans to teach anybody to do it on Nov. 30, when she will present a card-making workshop at the Sweet Spot in New Bremen from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Stienecker and her friend, Angela Brandt, will demonstrate making Christmas cards, and will allow others to experiment with cards of their own. The workshop is free and open to the public.
    Stienecker, 41, a Wapakoneta native who now lives in Troy, began making cards herself just last summer when a friend talked her into attending a workshop. She was lukewarm about the idea < until the demonstrator began showing what could be done with the right stamps, stamp pads and paper.
    "Before I knew it, I could barely sit still. I just sat there and vibrated," Stienecker said.
    She transmitted her new enthusiasm at the insurance office where she works. Brandt works there too, and remembers the day Stienecker came to work very excited about making cards.
    "We just rolled our eyes. We didn't need another hobby," Brandt said.
    But a hobby like this one, Brandt said, is nearly irresistible. She let Stienecker show her a few things about making cards, and before she knew it, she was vibrating too.
    "Five hundred dollars later, I'm in love with it," Brandt said.
    "I wish I could say she was exaggerating," Stienecker said.
    Brandt and Stienecker have heaps of beautiful stamping equipment, including special cutters, glitter, papers, colored pencils, wooden stamps and other paraphernalia. Stienecker stores hers in a Craftsman tool chest donated to the cause by her husband, Rick. But they insist that the hobby is as affordable as it is easy ("Twenty-five dollars and a shoe box, and you're all set," Stienecker said) < they just happen to have gotten carried away.
    "The adrenaline really gets flowing when we get together and make cards. Sometimes when we come up with a really good design, we're sucking more air out of the room than we're putting in," Stienecker said.
    "Cindy's husband has days when he worries, because we're not breathing," Brandt added. "It's a ton of fun."
    The cards are beautiful and look incredibly labor-intensive, but the women insist that they are simple to make. With one good design and four hands, they once made 54 cards in an hour and a half, said Stienecker, who this year plans to send a handmade card to everyone on her extensive Christmas card list.
    Anyone who sees the open drawers of Stienecker's tool chest, lined with colorful papers and beautiful stamps, is going to vibrate, at least a little bit.
    "People really have a lot of fun with it. I showed it to my 11-year-old niece, and she just went crazy," Stienecker said. "There is such great joy in creating, no matter what it is that you're making. It brings you great joy."


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