Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Everybody wants to keep as much of the Money they earn as possible. Those people in the higher income brackets are forever looking for a way to protect their money from the income tax collectors.

Thus, the idea of personal tax shelter. The thing is, how can you tell which ones are the good ones, and which ones are the bad ones. - tax shelters can certainly "keep your money out of the hands of the IRS" - but some of them can cost you dearly as well. Generally, all real estate purchases have definite tax advantage. In even the simplest kind of transaction such as buying a better home for your family, you'll be able to deduct from your gross income the amount you pay in mortgage interest and property taxes.

If you rent out your old house, or buy a house as a rental property, you'll be allowed to deduct all your expenses from the rent you receive. You can also deduct the depreciation on the house, based on the cost or on the market value at the time the house was converted to a rental property, whichever is lower.

You also have the option to compute your depreciation over 15-years, which would probably give you a tax loss even though the property is producing a cash income for you. Remember though, you cannot claim a depreciation on the value of the land, only for the cost of the house.

Until 1981, you could not deduct losses on a property rented to relatives - however that rule has been repealed and now makes family tax savings available in certain situations when you rent to relatives. Be sure to check with your local IRS Office for complete details.

So-called Clifford Trusts are tax shelters that shift the gross income of a company or family bread-winner to other family members in lower tax brackets. An income-producing property is transferred to a trust which must be set up to last 10 years and a day. The beneficiary receives the income during this period, and then the property reverts back to the grantor.

This type of trust is often used to accumulate money for children, who can use it for higher education or for a start in a career or business of their own. You should bear in mind when setting up such a trust however, that parents have a legal duty to support their minor children and thus, a trust cannot be set up to be used for that purpose.

Equipment Leasing Programs are another common income-sheltering method. Most of these programs can be combined with a trust. Her's how they work: The owner of a business sets up a trust for a family member. Business property or equipment is transferred to the trust, and then leased back to the business. The trust gets the income, and the business gets a deduction for the rental fees it pays.

From another angle, the trust could buy equipment for lease to the business and get deductions for interest and other expenses involved. Investment tax credit can also sometimes be claimed in non-net-lease situations.

Making interest-free loans is another method of sheltering one's income. Say you lend several thousand dollars to a son or daughter who invests the money. The borrower gets the income, and you eventually get your money back. If you're in the 50% tax bracket and the borrower is in the 25% bracket, your tax savings can be considerable.

Investing in Municipal Bonds are very definitely a means of sheltering your income. Income from these bonds is tax free, but it's generally lower than from other types of investments. Municipal Bonds pay at a fixed rate of interest. Relative to other kinds of investments you could make, you'll lose on Municipals if interest rates go up, and win only if the interest rates on other investments go down.

By now, everyone knows about IRA's and Keogh plans for the self employed. You put money into a personal retirement trust and pay no taxes on it until you actually withdraw from it. Some companies give their employees a chance to set up their own retirement accounts, thereby deferring part of their gross incomes until after they retire.

However, deferring income until after one retires is no longer as attractive as it used to be, particularly if your tax rate is not expected to change after retirement. If you don't anticipate a lower tax bracket after you retire, it's generally better to take all your income now and invest it in high yield growth funds that will mean more money for you in your retirement years.

There are innumerable ways and methods to shelter your gross income from the tax collectors, all of them legal. The important thing is to check them out with your tax preparer and decide which would be best for you.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

WILLS OR TRUSTS? The Case For Living Trusts

How To Eliminate The Hassles Of:



Simply put, living trusts are an expedient way to transfer property at your death. A living trust is a legal document that controls the transfer of property in the trust when you die.

Generally, living trusts are established during an individual's lifetime and can be modified or changed while that person is still alive. Circumstances do change and the option to make alterations in the trust is important.

For this reason, a living trust is set up on a "revocable" basis. Revocable means you can modify or change the trust's provisions. Your other option would be to create an irrevocable trust. Once put in place, you are unable to change the terms of the trust regardless of the circumstances.

As you will see, living trusts speed up the process by which your property moves to your designated beneficiaries after you die. Today, and into the foreseeable future, this is vitally important as the United States is experiencing an unprecedented wealth transfer.

It is estimated, according to "Fortune" magazine, that some $6.8 trillion worth of assets will soon pass from parents to children, grandchildren, friends, charities and others. The questions remains: how will this wealth be transferred? Will it be the traditional methods of wills and probate or the new revolution of estate planning that has incorporated living trusts? Many legal experts believe that living trusts are the future of wealth transfers.

The concept of living trusts has created controversy simply because the legal profession seems evenly split on the issue. Estate planners seem to favor living trusts but there are enough opposed to the concept to avoid a clear majority decision.

Living trusts are also called "inter vivos" trusts, a Latin term preferred by attorneys. The Internal Revenue Service calls them "grantor" trusts. All mean the same thing.

The Internal Revenue Service, however, recognizes the living trust as a valid estate planning tool and exhibits no prejudice against it. There are specific provisions in the tax laws that deal with living or grantor trusts.

The revocable provision means that while you live, you still effectively own all of the property that has been transferred into the trust. You can sell it, spend it, give it away; in short, do anything you wish since the property is still yours. The trust itself is merely a document in your lifetime that truly doesn't begin to function until you die. Then, the trust operates to transfer your property privately, outside of the reach of probate, to the specific individuals or organizations to whom you wish to leave your worldly possessions.

What is probate? Why do people try to avoid it?

Technically speaking, probate is the process by which one proves the validity of a will in court. If there is no one contesting the will, this should not take long. If there are complications, probate can take years. For those of you familiar with the works of Charles Dickens, recall "Bleak House" and the neverending probate case of Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce.

Probate has come to mean not just proving the validity of the will but the entire administrative sequence involving the passing of an owner's title to property after the owner's death. The deceased's property is inventoried and creditors are identified and paid after the payment is made to the estate's attorney, executor and tax entities.

The term "probate" also identifies the court which has jurisdiction over the estate probate and administration. Probate court also has jurisdiction over the guardianship of minors and mentally incompetent adults. All wills go through probate.

The average length of the probate process is twelve to eighteen months. Any estate transactions in that time must be approved by the probate court.

This can create havoc for beneficiaries. Since a living trust replaces a will and doesn't need validation from the probate court, considerable time and hassle can be saved.

This, then, is the purpose behind living trusts. The trust is simple to establish and, when carried out, makes it easy to transfer property. The trust is a matter of explicit instructions as to who gets what property after the owner dies. Like a will, the trust should cover all expected and unexpected events that might occur. The details tell the designated trustee how to use the money and property in the trust.

A living trust is a capable substitute for a will and a document that more and more people, disillusioned with the probate system, are turning to in their estate planning.


Before proceeding further, it might be helpful to define a few terms for you. These terms will occur often during this text and in the actual living trust process, so it's important to familiarize yourself with their definitions.

A/B TRUST: Common term for a "marital life estate trust", generally used by couples whose estates are valued at more than $600,000.

ACCUMULATION TRUST: A trust that does not pay out all of its income until certain circumstances occur.

ADMINISTRATION: Courtsupervised distribution of the probate estate of the deceased. The person who manages this distribution is called the EXECUTOR if there is a will or an ADMINISTRATOR if there is not.

BENEFICIARY: The person or organization legally entitled to receive gifts made under the provisions of a legal document such as a will or trust.

CODICIL: An amendment to a will. It is a separate legal document, properly witnessed and executed.

CORPUS: Property owned by the trust, commonly referred to as "corpus of the trust".

DEATH TAXES: Amounts levied on the property of the deceased called estate taxes (federal) and inheritance (state) taxes.

DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY: A general power of attorney that will continue to be valid after its maker becomes incapacitated or incompetent.

DURABLE HEALTH CARE POWER OF ATTORNEY: A special power of attorney in which the maker gives another person authority to make health care decisions when the maker is unable to do so, due to injury or sickness.

ESTATE: In general, all of the property you own when you die.

ESTATE PLANNING: The legal maneuvering by which one dies with the smallest taxable and probate estate possible, with the ability of passing on your property to your beneficiaries with the least amount of hassle and expense.

INTESTATE: To die without a will or other valid estate transfer device. Estate will go through probate and be passed to heirs who are specified in the applicable state's laws.

IRREVOCABLE TRUST: A trust that cannot be changed, once established, except by court action in a proceeding referred to as REFORMATION.

JOINT TENANCY: A form of property ownership by two or more people where the death of one owner causes the transfer of that individual's share to go directly to the remaining owner(s). A will has no power to change the joint tenant's right of survivorship. This is another common tool used to avoid probate, a lthough there may be gift tax consequences.

LIVING TRUST: Trust established while the maker is alive and which becomes immediately effective. It remains under the control of the maker until death. It allows property to pass to beneficiaries free of probate.

LIVING WILL: A document that provides instructions to physicians, health care providers, family and courts as to what lifeprolonging procedures are desired if a person should become terminally ill or be in a persistent vegetative state and unable to communicate.

PERSONAL PROPERTY: All property other than land, buildings attached to the land, and certain oil, gas and mineral interests.

PER STIRPES: A legal term meaning that if a person dies, the inheritance will pass to heirs in equal shares. It means "by right of representation".

POUR OVER WILL: A will that transfers the decedent's assets that are subject to the will to a trust that was already in effect prior to the decedent's death.

POWER OF ATTORNEY: A legal document whereby, a person authorize someone else to act for them.

PROBATE: Court proceeding in which the authenticity of a will is established, an executor or administrator is appointed, debts and taxes are paid, heirs are identified, and property in the probated estate is distributed according to the dictates of the will.

QUALIFIED TERMINABLE INTEREST PROPERTY TRUST: Also referred to as a "QTip" trust, it allows a surviving spouse to postpone, until his or her own death, payment of estate taxes that were assessed upon the death of the first spouse. The surviving spouse is still entitled to all of the income from the property.

REVOCABLE TRUST: A trust that can be changed by the trust maker at any time. Living trusts are revocable trusts.

SETTLOR: Another name for a maker of the trust, also called "trustor", "grantor" or "creator".

TENANCY IN COMMON: A form of joint ownership of property. Each owner is able to sell or give a way his or her share of property, as well as pass it along separately at death. There is no right of survivorship.

TESTACY: Dying with a valid will in place. All property controlled by the will passes through probate.

TESTAMENTARY TRUST: A trust created by a valid will.

TRUST: A legal arrangement under which one person or institution controls property given by another person for the benefit of a third party.

TRUSTEE: The person who, or institution which, manages the trust and its property under specific instruction.

WILL: A legal document that is used to pass property to heirs following a person's death. A will only becomes effective at the death of its maker.


The purpose of the living trust, as mentioned, is to be able to transfer property to a designated beneficiary(ies) without the usual hassles associated with wills and probates.

However, your living trust can't transfer property it doesn't own.

Therefore, the first step in making the trust effective is to transfer ownership, or title, of a property to the trust's name. It's safer to transfer the title to the trust's name rather than to the name of the trustee since it is more likely the trust name will continue even if you change trustees.

For the purposes of transferring title into a trust's name, there are two classifications of property: that which has an ownership document and that which doesn't.

Property without ownership documents include the following:

_ household possessions and furnishings;

_ clothing and furs

_ jewelry

_ tools and most equipment

_ antiques

_ art work

_ electronic and computer equipment

_ cash

_ precious metals

_ bearer bonds

These items are transferred to a trust simply by listing them on a trust schedule. That's it! Pretty simple, right?

Property that has ownership documents requires a reregistration of ownership into the trust's name. Once the trust document has been established, signed and notarized, this process should begin. The document of the title must clearly show that the trust is the legal owner of the property or the trustee will not be able to legally transfer any of that property.

The type of property owned by the trust which requires this reregistration of ownership includes the following:

_ real estate

_ bank accounts

_ stocks and stock accounts

_ money market accounts

_ mutual funds

_ most bonds, including U.S. Government Securities

_ safety deposit boxes

_ corporations, partnerships and limited partnerships

_ cars, boats, motor homes and airplanes

If you set up a trust and fail to reregister ownership of a specific property, it will remain outside the trust after you die. If you do not have a will, property will pass through intestacy and your state's succession law. The chances of leaving it to the person you wanted it to go to are reduced, and you will not avoid probate of the propertywhich is the purpose of a living will! Do not fail to reregister property that has a title. You prepare a new title document for each piece of property, transferring ownership into your trust's name. With real estate, for example, you must prepare and sign a deed listing the trust as the new owner. Then have the deed must be notarized and properly recorded. For bank accounts, ask your bank for the proper form. You can usually accomplish this in one trip.


When you establish a living trust, you must name a trustee. In fact, you should name both an initial trustee and a successor trustee in the event the initial trustee becomes incapacitated and cannot serve.

The trustee is the individual who or institution which actually manages the trust assets that you transfer in, according to the specific instructions you've given. The appointment is important, as this person or entity will have the responsibility of honoring your wishes your after death.

The initial trustee is, most often, YOU! That's why it's called a living trust. Since it's revocable, you can change assets in the trust as circumstances dictate. While you're alive, the trust can conform to your specific wishes.

It is important to understand this: a living trust does not take the control of your property from you- until you die. You handle it while you're alive. It's merely tucked away in a convenient legal vehicle that takes over immediately after you die and passes the property along to the people you designate without publicity and without the potential lengthy delay and costs of probate.

If you've set up a marital living trust, usually both spouses are cotrustees. When one spouse dies, the other spouse continues as the initial trustee.

It is possible to name someone else other than you and/or your spouse to be the initial trustee. It is uncommon and unnecessarily complicates your trust arrangements as you must keep separate records of the trust. You should work with your attorney to select a capable trustee if you wish.

Because something could happen to the initial trustee, it's vital to name a successor trustee. This is the ind ividual who will be distributing your assets according to your wishes after you die, or if you become unable to manage the trust due to injury or illness. For property not held in the living trust, creation of a durable power of attorney and a health care durable power of attorney can designate someone else to carry on with the nontrust assets.

If your trust is a marital one, the successor trustee would not take over until after the second spouse dies.

The successor trustee could also die or become incapacitated, so it's imperative that you name an alternative trustee, too, to take over as successor in that circumstance.

What does the successor trustee do? If your instructions are explicit as to how you want property transferred at your death, then the job is somewhat easier. However are still things you must do:

_ Obtain copies of the death certificate of the initial trustee

_ Present death certificate, copy of the living trust and proof of successor trustee's identity to the various financial institutions or organizations that have the property/assets

_ Prepare documents of title transfer from the trust to the beneficiary(ies)

as appropriate.

_ Supervise distribution of trust assets where no title is involved.

_ If necessary, the successor trustee may manage a child's trust if the beneficiary is a child who has not reached the age at which the initial trustee designated the property to be transferred. The successor manages the property for that individual until he or she reaches the specific age outlined in the original living trust. This may be the only task the successor trustee is actually paid to do. If required, the successor trustee might also file federal and/or state death tax returns.

It is important to name a successor trustee, preferably one whom you feel will diligently carry out your wishes. It may even be someone who is also a beneficiary of the trust assets. If there is any question about whom you should name, consult with an attorney for suggestions.


A will is a written document detailing instructions as to how you want your assets divided up after your death. You might also include information as to a child's guardianship, how (or if) you are to be buried and the appointment of an executor of your will.

The two main types of wills are:

_ attested

_ holographic

The attested will is the most common. It is usually prepared by a lawyer in typewritten form and signed in front of several witnesses who have no benefit in the will whatsoever.

The holographic will is made without a lawyer, written on plain paper in your own handwriting, dated and signed. If your wishes are clear, this should be as effective as the attested will. It will more likely be disputed than an attested will and be subject to the interpretation of the courts, where anything could happen. Attested wills are safer for carrying out your final instructions.

Most people think they should have a will. Many people do, however, do not have a will because estate planning is generally not a high priority to many people nationwide. There are many fine estate planners around the country who work with individuals, but the average person doesn't put much thought, time or effort into addressing this important financial task of preparing for asset distribution after death.

Attorneys will be glad to help you do an attested will and may not charge much to do so. They'll get paid later- when the will goes through probate court. The payors will be your beneficiaries, who will see assets drain as a result of legal fees and court costs.

Probate can be lengthy, especially if the will and estate is a complex one. Not only does a will diminish the value of the property, it may also slow down the time it takes to actually transfer it to the designated beneficiary.

A will does let you choose your heirs, but the advantages stops there. You will not avoid probate, estate taxes (if any), death income taxes, privacy of transfers or incapacitation. These are the primary reasons one should set up a living trust INSTEAD of a will.

There is a will that is important when establishing a living trust. It's called the pourover will. This documen t puts any assets you failed to place in your living trust during your lifetime into the trust after your death. In effect, it "pours over" assets from the will to the trust. This document may also name the guardian for minor or incapacitated children.

The pourover will is a "failsafe" device to ensure that any property left out of the trust will be placed there. It is also a backup to the living trust in case it's invalidated for any reason. The pourover will can substantiate the trust simply by reaffirming its terms. It would be difficult for one or more heirs to challenge successfully both a living trust and a pourover will if their conditions and instructions are similar.


What is an estate? Exactly what are we trying to protect with a living trust?

An estate is essentially all the property you own (your assets) minus anything that you owe (liabilities). This calculation, assets minus liabilities, will yield a net worth for you. This is the value of your estate at the time it is calculated.

The size of your estate is important. More important is the value of your taxable estate. This will equal, roughly, the value of your estate less property left to your surviving spouse or to charity.

The other estate calculation of note is the probate estate. This is the portion of your estate that must go through probate before it can be distributed. Leaving your assets via a will puts them through probate.

The difference between the taxable estate and the probate estate should be considerable if you plan your estate properly. For example, let's say your estate calculation is $400,000. By transferring the title of your house, valued at $250,000 and your Chrysler stocks, valued at $75,000, to a living trust, you have reduced your PROBATE estate by $325,000 to $75,000. Your goal should be to try and reduce the probate estate to zero if possible.

Living trusts will save probate costs. They do not avoid death income taxes. There are other things you can do, planningwise, to reduce your taxable estate, but a living trust is not one of those. You can and should, however, reduce or even eliminate your probate costs.

Proper estate planning, in general, can accomplish all of the following:

_ select your heirs

_ choose amount and time of distribution of inheritance to heirs

_ avoid probate

_ eliminate or reduce federal estate taxes

_ eliminate death income taxes

_ maintain control over your assets

_ maintain both privacy and flexibility

_ leave directions and the power to act if you are incapacitated

_ leave funeral instructions

_ leave organ transplant instructions

_ make the administration of your estate as simple and quick to execute as possible.

These are important goals. A living trust is one example of addressing these goals in your estate planning. It is by no means the only thing you should do, but it is a document that can help you and your heirs immensely.


By now, you should understand the meaning and main purpose of a living trust. There are, however, other types of trusts that should be mentioned that assist in estate planning goals.

Living trusts are only truly functional when the creator of the trust passes away. It avoids probate costs. Other types of trusts help you to avoid taxes.

MARITAL ESTATE LIFE TRUST: Commonly referred to as the AB Trust, this trust is set up for coupl es whose combined estate is in excess of $600,000. $600,000 is the amount of your estate which is exempt from federal estate taxes. The marital life estate trust lets BOTH spouses take full advantage of the $600,000 estate tax exemption.

When a spouse dies, property is left for the use of the surviving spouse during the balance of his or her lifetime. However, the survivor never becomes the legal owner of the property. If legal ownership is never bestowed, then the property is not included in the survivor's estate and thus avoids being counted for tax purposes.

The trust is complex and has important ramifications for the surviving spouse which should be understood before putting this type of trust into effect.

QTIP TRUST: Short for Qualified Terminal Interest Property, it is a type of marital life estate trust that is intended to postpone payment of estate taxes when the first spouse dies. It only postpones them until the death of the second spouse and the taxes could be higher then since the amounts would be calculated on the thencurrent estate, but it saves the survivor a substantial amount of money while alive.

GENERATIONSKIPPING TRUST: You may have heard of this type of trust where the bulk of assets are left to the grandchildren, but the income derived from them is utilized by the trustor's own children. In essence, the estate "skips" the children, going directly to the grandchildren, but the use of the income is still there for the direct heirs; the use of the property is not.

Current laws impose a tax on all generationskipping transfers in excess of $1,000,000. If an estate is worth more than that, the children may want to get this excess property directly since they will have no access other than to income from the property that was transferred to the grandchildren.

It all depends on the size and type of estate.

These are examples of other trusts. This isn't meant to say you should attempt to set up every conceivable type of trust. The key is what your estate and heirs "picture" looks like-this will govern the estate planning devices you will utilize.


To value your estate from both a net worth and living trust planning standpoint, you must inventory your assets and calculate your liabilities first.

Assets: This is the first calculation. You should list each item and describe it, indicating whether you own the property outright or the percentage of your ownership if not. Then list the actual value of the portion you own.

Begin with your liquid assets:

_ cash

_ savings

_ checking accounts

_ money market accounts

_ CDs

_ precious metals

Next, list other personal property:

_ stocks

_ mutual funds

_ bonds

_ other securities

_ automobiles

_ jewelry

_ furs

_ art works

_ antiques

_ tools

_ collectibles

_ life insurance

Then, list your real estate holdings including your own home(s), condominiums, mobile homes, land, etc.

Finally, list any business personal property including partnership interests, copyrights, patents, trademarks, stock options, etc.

Add these up and you will have the total amount of your assets.

Then, list your liabilities by name and the amount you owe, including:

_ personal loans (credit cards, bank)

_ mortgage loan(s)

_ taxes due, current or past

_ life insurance loans

_ other personal debts

Add all of these numbers up to arrive at your total liabilities. Subtract your liabilities from your assets to arrive at your net worth.

This allows you to place a value on your estate. You can see how close your estate is to $600,000. You can inventory property that has to be itemized for the living trust anyway. You can separate property by titled ownership and nontitled property.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Though the price of gas has plunged drastically,i believe this development is just temporary, hence, we need to know how to safe some money when the price goes up again.
The surest way you can improve your fuel cost problem is to change your motoring habits. Listed below under four categories are 30 effective methods of doing so... no need to buy expensive add-on equipment.


Avoid prolonged warming up of engine, even on cold mornings - 30 to 45 seconds is plenty of time.

Be sure the automatic choke is disengaged after engine warm up... chokes often get stuck, resulting in bad gas/air mixture.

Don't start and stop engine needlessly. Idling your engine for one minute consumes the gas amount equivalent to when you start the engine.

Avoid "reving" the engine, especially just before you switch the engine off; this wastes fuel needlessly and washes oil down from the inside cylinder walls, owing to loss of oil pressure.

Eliminate jack-rabbit starts. Accelerate slowly when starting from dead stop. Don't push pedal down more than 1/4 of the total foot travel. This allows carburetor to function at peak efficiency.

6. Buy gasoline during coolest time of day - early morning or late evening is best. During these times gasoline is densest. Keep in mind - gas pumps measure volumes of gasoline, not densities of fuel concentration. You are charged according to "volume of measurement".

7. Choose type and brand of gasoline carefully. Certain brands provide you with greater economy because of better quality. Use the brands which "seem" most beneficial.

8. Avoid filling gas tank to top. Overfilling results in sloshing over and out of tank. Never fill gas tank past the first "click" of fuel nozzle, if nozzle is automatic.


9. Exceeding 40 mph forces your auto to overcome tremendous wind resistance.

10. Never exceed legal speed limit. Primarily they are set for your traveling safety, however better gas efficiency also occurs. Traveling at 55 mph give you up to 21% better mileage when compared to former legal speed limits of 65 mph and 70 mph.

11. Traveling at fast rates in low gears can consume up to 45% more fuel than is needed.

12. Manual shift driven cars allow you to change to highest gear as soon as possible, thereby letting you save gas if you "nurse it along". However, if you cause the engine to "bog down", premature wearing of engine parts occurs.

13. Keep windows closed when traveling at highway speeds. Open windows cause air drag, reducing your mileage by 10%.

14. Drive steadily. Slowing down or speeding up wastes fuel. Also avoid tailgating - the driver in front of you is unpredictable. Not only is it unsafe, but if affects your economy, if he slows down unexpectedly.

15.Think ahead when approaching hills. If you accelerate, do it before you reach the hill, not while you're on it.


16. Do not rest left foot on floor board pedals while driving. The slightest pressure puts "mechanical drag" on components, wearing them down prematurely. This "dragging" also demands additional fuel usage.

17. Avoid rough roads whenever possible, because dirt or gravel rob you of up to 30% of your gas mileage.

18. Use alternate roads when safer, shorter, straighter. Compare traveling distance differences - remember that corners, curves and lane jumping requires extra gas. The shortest distance between two points is always straight.

19. Stoplights are usually timed for your motoring advantage. By traveling steadily at the legal speed limit you boost your chances of having the "green light" all the way.

20. Automatic transmissions should be allowed to cool down when your car is idling at a standstill, e.g. railroad crossings, long traffic lights, etc. Place gear into neutral position. This reduces transmission strain and allows transmission to cool.

21. Park car so that you can later begin to travel in forward gear; avoid reverse gear maneuvers to save gas.

22. Regular tune-ups ensure best economy; check owner's manual for recommended maintenance intervals. Special attention should be given to maintaining clean air filters... diminished air flow increases gas waste.

23. Inspect suspension and chassis parts for occasional misalignment. Bent wheels, axles, bad shocks, broken springs, etc. create engine drag and are unsafe at high traveling speeds.

24. Remove snow tires during good weather seasons; traveling on deep tire tred really robs fuel!

25. Inflate all tires to maximum limit. Each tire should be periodically spun, balanced and checked for out-of-round. When shopping for new tires, get large diameter tires for rear wheels. Radial designs are the recognized fuel-savers; check manufacturer's specifications for maximum tire pressures.

26. Remove vinyl tops - they cause air drag. Rough surfaces disturb otherwise smooth air flow around a car's body. Bear in mind when buying new cars that a fancy sun roof helps disturb smooth air flow (and mileage).

27. Auto air conditioners can reduce fuel economy by 10% to 20%. Heater fan, power windows and seats increase engine load; the more load on your engine, the less miles per gallon.

28. Remove excess weight from trunk or inside of car - extra tires, back seats, unnecessary heavy parts. Extra weight reduces mileage, especially when driving up inclines.

29. Car pools reduce travel monotony and gas expense - all riders chip in to help you buy. Conversation helps to keep the driver alert. Pooling also reduces traffic congestion, gives the driver easier maneuverability and greater "steady speed" economy. For best resutls, distribute passenger weight evenly throughout car.

30. During cold weather watch for icicles frozen to car frame. Up to 100 lbs. can be quickly accumulated! Unremoved snow and ice cause tremendous wind resistance. Warm water thrown on (or hosed on) will eliminate it fast.


Install pressure regulator valve (sold in auto parts stores)... Use graphite motor oil... Beware of oil additives, regardless of advertising claims... Add Marvel Mystery Oil into gas fill-ups... Investigate fuel/water injection methods and products... combine short errands into one trip... Use special gas additives to prevent winter freezing of gas lines... convert your V8 engine over to a V4 - no special kits needed!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Plastics (and some metal) engraving is accomplished with the aid of a pantograph -- a scissors-like device with tracing stylus on one end and a cutting tip on the other. It works something like a Le Roi set. The operator guides the stylus by following or tracing within the grooves of brass "masters" (letters or designs), which causes the other end to cut or scratch the identical design, but not necessarily the same size into material fastened beneath it. By adjusting settings on the pantograph, the operator can make the design the same size, twice as large, or up to eight times as large as the pattern being traced by the stylus.

Plastic name tags, signs, etc. are made from layered plastic. The core is one color, coating another. When the top layer of blue is cut through, the white core shows -- which results in white letters on a blue background.

Different sized cutting blades are used so that large letters have wider strokes and the edge of the name tag is beveled to frame the finished product. There are many combinations of colors; some even have three layers for usual effects.

Metal name tags are similar except that the cutting blade does not rotate and the design is actually "scratched" into the surface. Metal tags are considerably more expensive and are probably not worth the extra cost. The metal is usually brass or some other soft material that comes with a plastic coating but still scratches easily.

The vast majority of name tags and engraved signs are on plastic, some of which looks very much like metal, but wear better and are easier to work with.

Plastics engraving requires no special talent or extensive training. One only needs to acquire a little dexterity, which can be learned in a few hours and a high school understanding of measurements and ratios.

Engraving is a business that grows amazingly fast and has very little competition. With an initial investment of $1,000 - $3,000 in equipment and startup materials, you can learn to operate the machine, lay out copy and start turning out finished products.

It takes about 30 minutes for the average person to learn how to make a one line name tag, complete with cutting the letters, beveling the tag, and attaching the pin on the back. With a little time ( and a few mistakes of course), you can easily master multiple line layout and some of the other routines.

Turning out a name tag only takes a couple of minutes for an experienced engraver, especially when many are made assembly line fashion.

Engraved plastic signs and badges routinely sell for ten to twenty times the cost of the materials because of operator skill, investment in the equipment, and the fact that there is not all that much competition.

Used engraving machines (New Hermes are one of the better brands) are sometimes offered in ENGRAVERS JOURNAL for about half retail along with other pertinent equipment and supplies.

There are two basic types of engraving machines -- manual and computer. They both turn out good quality work, but the computer is much faster.

The computer engravers run several thousand dollars, but are well worth that to large operations that turn out hundreds of badges and signs per day. Whatever machine you get, make sure it has multi-ratio adjustments. Some of the cheaper and older models will make letters only exactly 2 or 4 times the size of the pattern -- which just won't do. You must be able to adjust the size of the letters at fractions of those ratios, according to the length of the line.

A name like Joe Doe, for example, should be in bold letters, while Frederick H Moskovitch must be adjusted down to fit within the width of the name tag.

With the cheaper models, you have little choice and sometimes have no choice but to make these names too big or too small.

With an adjustable pantograph, you simply place the cutting blade at the margin of the name tag, and that is the setting All names will "look right."

This multiple adjustment is even more critical when you get into logos and larger signs, where 4 times won't fit on the sign and 2 times the size will make the sign look like it has too much wasted space. With the adjustments, you can always have nice margins -- about the width of two letters.

This business is adaptable to wholesale or retail trade -- and there are plenty of places where you can send out work that you can't (yet) do -- large companies that "service the trade, and still leave you room for a modest profit.

If, for example, you got an order for 1,000 fire escape signs that you simply could not do in the allotted time, you send the order out to a company that does the work by computer. You would not make as much doing the work yourself, but then you would not be doing the work either. In fact, you would be working on other jobs. Not only that, but your customer dealt with you -- he knows that you can take care of him.

To get a good look at the engraving industry, subscribe to THE ENGRAVERS JOURNAL (418 per year). Read a couple of issues, investigate some of of the advertisements, and notice the different companies that serve the industry -- these can help you get a good well-rouned business started.

A special note of possible interest: rubber stamps can be made from engraved designs! Anything you can engrave into phenolics (hard plastics for outside use), you can make into a rubber stamp with a stamp or laminating press. Engrave the design fairly deep; clean and dust with talc ( baby powder is fine), cover with rubber and heat 5-7 minutes at 2-4lbs. pressure. When cured, peel off, trim and glue to a mount. Years ago, vendors would set up shop in heavy traffic areas and make rubber stamps to order in about 10 minutes.

It is easy -- almost unavoidable -- to add profitable sidelines, such as hot stamping, inside signs, rubber stamps and desk accessories to an engraving business once you get started. these require essentially the same skills, very little additional investment, but most importantly, you already have a ready-made market for these added products because it is the same as for your engraving business!

Probably the biggest and most expensive headache encountered by engravers (as well as sign and rubber stamp makers) is getting the name or message incorrect.

Most "pros" soon discover the value of repeating back, letter by letter, every word of copy that is to go on the product. There are some letters that some of us seem to have more trouble with (like "B" and "D") over the phone -- so if there is any possible doubt, it is a good idea to say "B as in boy or "D as in dog."

On a single name tag the loss is not much, but large orders could be disaster. Also, keep a dictionary handy (within easy reach of the engraving table) and look up any word that could even possibly be incorrect (call the customer if necessary). Last, but certainly not least, keep the order that shows the desired copy in full view during the engraving process -- and check it constantly.


THE ENGRAVERS JOURNAL, Box 318, Brighton, MA 48116, 313/229-5725. The trade journal of the engraving industry. Subscribe to this as soon as possible!

A TO Z ENGRAVING, 1150 Brown St.,Wauconda, IL 60650. 312/526-7396. Custom engraving and hot stamping for the trade.

NEW HERMES, INC., 20 Cooper Square, New York, NY 10003. Manufactures high quality engraving equipment and sells high quality (and high priced) parts, accessories and supplies. Their engraving mechanical engraving machines have been industry standard.

AWARD SUPPLY CO.,1212 California Ave.,Arlington, TX 76015, 817/465-7210. dealer in used engraving equipment.

ABILITY PLASTICS, INC.,3254 Laramie Ave.,Chicago, Il 60650, 800/323-2722. Engraving equipment, cutter sharpening, wide assortment of supplies and materials -- excellent prices.

ENGRAVING MACHINERY AND SUPPLIES, 419 East 91st St.,New York, NY 100128. Wholesale engraving equipment and supplies.

DOVER PUBLICATIONS, INC., 31 East 2nd St.,Mineola, NY 11501. Discount books, clip art, stencils, etc.

QUILL CORPORATION, 100 Schelter Rd.,Lincolnshire, IL 60917-4700, 312/634-4800. Office supplies.

NEBS, 500 Main St.,Groton, MA 04171, 800/225-6380. Office supplies.

IVEY PRINTING, Box 761, Meridan, TX 76665. Write for price list.

SWEDCO, Box 29, Mooresville, NC 28115. 3 line rubber stamps - $3; business cards - 413 per thousand.

ZPS, Box 581, Libertyville, IL 60048-2556. Business cards (raised print - $11.50 per K) and letterhead stationery. Will print your copy ready logo or design, even whole card.

WALTER DRAKE, 4119 Drake Bldg.,Colorado Springs, CO 80940. Short run business cards, stationery, etc. Good quality, but no choice of ink or color.

Friday, December 5, 2008


If you are handy with table saws, wood lathes, and related equipment and woodworking tools, a lucrative business is the purchase, repair and resale of old furniture. We don't mean just davens or arm chairs. We're talking about everything from baby furniture and children's play equipment, to antique bedroom sets.

You can pick up just about anything at garage sales, moving sales, yard sales, flea markets and sometimes find a bargain at a second hand store.

Quite often you can clean out someone's attic or garage and take the "junk" as pay for your services. Strip and repaint the various furniture, tighten it up, change and modernize, do whatever is necessary to put it in good saleable condition with the least amount of time and expense.

Advertise that you purchase old and broken down furniture on one side of the newspaper and on the other side your ad can detail the large choice of all types of tables, chairs, baby furniture, children's play things and other furniture and toys you have available at bargain prices.

You can start out in your basement or garage, but eventually, as your business grows you may have to rent or buy a workshop and sales display area, or set up a retail outlet.

After you become more experienced you can specialize only in those items that have the best market and make the most money per unit. Then when you grow large enough, distribute your works to various sales outlets on a distributorship or wholesale basis

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Only coin collectors know about this; but you can still find 40% silver-clad half dollars in circulation today. Here is how.

Go to banks or savings and loan companies, and buy rolls of halves at $10.00 each. Buy as many as you can afford, the more you buy the more you stand to find. Take them home and check them. Keep all halves made before 1971.

U.S. silver dimes, quarters, halves and dollars minted in 1964 or earlier are 90% silver. Then Kennedy half dollars of 1965 through 1970 have a 40% silver content. The 1970 half dollar was not released for public circulation, so any specimen of it would be a mishandled collector's coin or one which had accidentally been placed in circulation. A coin-collection is stolen and the coins are just spent as regular coins, especially by teenagers who do not know their numismatic value. Sometimes these teenagers just snitch a coin or two and go for a malted at the local drug store or malt shop. So always watch all your coins.

These 1970 half dollars command a sizeable premium.

Half dollars after 1970 have no silver in them with the exception of the proof and mint sets (which were not put into circulation - they were for collectors only.)

I have been a coin collector since 1964 and over all I have made money at it - however I collected, bought and sold everything.

I still find 40% silver halves, and once in a great while I find a 90% half. In addition to the banks and the savings and loan companies, I make it a habit to stop at small town banks, and especially country stores and ask them if they can or will sell me some half dollars. Usually they will.

Every time I make a purchase at any store, I ask them if they will sell me some or all the half dollars in their till. Most businesses are glad to get rid of them. No one wants to handle them any more. They all use quarters for making change.

Roll up all the halves that have no silver content and return them to the bank. Cash them in or trade them for more rolls or use them to buy groceries or other merchandise.

So keep at it and don't get discouraged when you go through several rolls and don't find any... The law of averages will even it up for you.

If you would like to join the most enjoyable and profitable hobby int he world, visit your local coin shops and attend some coin clubs, and coin shows. You should purchase a copy of A Guidebook of United States Coins, what the coin collector calls the RED BOOK.

You might also want to subscribe to a coin paper such as Coin World. Their address is: Coin World, Sidney, Ohio 45367.

Good Luck!

MAKE SCRAP FOIL For Hobby, Pastime and Profit

A very interesting little practised craft, is creating effects with scrap foil. It is a cheap medium to work with, supplies being obtained freely from the wrappers of sweets, chocolates, biscuits, cigarettes, and other articles. If one prefers to use new foil, it may be obtained quite cheaply, and there is not waste at all.

Pictures of your own design, calendars, trays, advertising signs and firescreens are but a few of the articles that can be made in a wide range of patterns and colors. Materials required are few, and consist of a piece of glass, the size of the article being made, cardboard, Indian ink, photographic paste, and passe partout binding.

As an example, let us begin with a colorful picture of a basket of flowers, selected from a glossy magazine. Most pictures are suitable for this type of work, but those with small details should be avoided.

Transfer the main outlines of the design on a piece of tracing paper, then place the blank side of the paper against the piece of glass; back it with cardboard, and secure the whole with elastic bands or paper clips to prevent movement. The design should now be seen reversed, as in a mirror.

Thoroughly clean the front of the glass to remove any fingerprints of greasy patches. With Indian ink, black out all of the background, leaving the parts that will show the foil clear. When thoroughly dry, apply a second coat of ink. After allowing that coat to dry, the paper and card may be removed. Cut the foil roughly to the shapes required, and using photographic paste, place the pieces in their respective positions on the inked side of the glass, and smooth the foil gently. If the foil slightly overlaps the ink, it does not matter; it will not show.

Build the picture up from the center to the outside, and finish one color before starting on the next. Cover the finished work with paper, and smooth gently but thoroughly all over to ensure that every part is firmly fixed. When dry, coat with clear varnish, and leave to set.

Place the backing cardboard into position again, not forgetting to fix any hangers if they are required, and then bind the edges with passe partout.

Even the smallest piece of foil left over will have a future use, and every bit however small, should b e saved. In the case of buildings, remember that light windows should be shown in silver or gold foil, an skies should of course be blue, grass green, etc.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Calligraphy is a business where you use your skill and artistic talents to apply beautifully styled hand lettering to the customer's paperwork.

While calligraphy is considered an art, unlike sculpting and oil painting it is also considered an acquirable one for most people with basic ability and a desire to learn.

A person with basic artistic ability can easily learn this specialty which is in demand for a number of situations.

Every stationery store gets orders for specialized, hand-letter printing that only a calligrapher can do: wedding announcements (sometimes even addressing the cards), menus, certificates, invitations, place mats, personalized greeting cards, etc.

Orders of less than 100 or so are very expensive to have printed commercially with calligraphy type, (that look machine printed): so there is almost no competition for short-run (less that 500) orders.

Even though a printer can make a thousand copies of a hand-lettered menu in a photo-process, someone (a calligrapher) must do the original!

Few printers or stationery stores have their own in-house calligrapher; they routinely send this type of work out - often to another city or state.

Stores in your area would undoubtedly happy to have the same quality done faster and probably cheaper (counting postage) nearby!

Learning the art of calligraphy is not difficult for one with a little talent. There are countless books, and kits available at almost any book store; many under $10.00.

Basically, the fancy effect is attained with broad tipped pens that make wide vertical strokes and narrow ones horizontally.

Drawing a circle while holding the pen in the same position will yield an "O" with fat sides and skinny top and bottom. Turning the pen results in various other effects, and even more are achieved with different pin point shapes, (wider, more rounded, etc.).

The calligrapher normally learns one alphabet at a time, and adds to his or her repertoire as each new one is mastered. Some of the more ornate alphabets (fonts) understandably require more practice, but most of them are variations or additions to previously learned techniques.

To get into the calligraphy business, buy a kit, learn a few alphabets, practice until you feel confident, then put out the word that you are available.

Design and letter your own business cards (or have them printed - see next paragraph). Personally call on shops that sell products that lend themselves to your talents.

Give them your card, leave samples and an idea of your prices, so they know how to quote your service retail. If you both retail and wholesale jobs, be sure to charge full retail to retail customers or risk alienating your wholesale accounts.

This is usually handled best by giving your wholesale customers "suggested" retailed prices - and informing them (if they ask) and if you do retail, it is at these prices only (and do it!).

Here is a hint to have some fabulous looking calligrapher business cards. First, lay out your "master" 4 or more times the size it will end up.

The normal business cards is 2" x 3 1/2", so four times that size would be 8 by 14. Or, you could make it 3 times as big 6 by 10 1/2.

Print your design and copy (include logo if desired - even if you cut out and glue it onto your "master." When satisfied, take it to the local stationery store and have it reduced to the proper-size on their copier (you may have to white-out shadows or lines from a glued-on logo.

When you get to business card size (2 by 3 1/2 inches) you will be amazed at how much sharper it looks! Then, take your copy ready master to a printer have him run off your business cards.

The printer will photograph your card and use his photo offset process - which is easier and cheaper than having to set type and lay out the copy.

If there is not a good printer locally, check Sources, below. While you are at it, have him "emboss" your cards. This used to be an expensive process (and still looks expensive), but now it is simply a special ink that expands (bubbles) when heated (the printer uses a roaster). The resulting raised print effect is beautiful!

Make up sets of samples for your wholesale customers (one set can be copied for customers and you keep the originals to avoid any appearance of favoritism).

Include samples that represent the range of your capabilities and also give potential customers an idea of how to use your services.

For example, a sheet of nice, quality paper with the same message in several different styles, examples of greeting cards, decorated menus, company name logos, a fancy certificate, desk sign, etc.

Samples are suggestive - they can lead to impulse purchases. Fees for calligraphy are usually by the piece (with a letter limit), by the letter (with adjustments for size) or a combination of both, plus any additional decorations or illustrations.

The price also is affected by the amount and detail required. The calligrapher can often expand an order by suggesting the envelopes be addressed in matching script!

The easiest way to price your work for wholesale, retail, or combination of both is to quote everything retail and give your wholesale accounts a 35-40% discount from listed "suggested retail" prices.

This way, your retail prices are "up front," and you can use the same samples and price lists for both retail and wholesale customers.

It also saves your wholesale accounts the trouble of figuring out or making up their own retail price lists - it makes it EASY for them to sell your products.

A potential problem area in this business is getting the instructions and/or copy wrong. One misspelled name or price can ruin the whole job!

To be safe, keep clear copies of all orders, and have any doubtful job orders initialed. While doing the job you have ANY doubts, don't guess: call the customer for clarification!

You may also have to experiment with different types of erasing systems and products. Always do this on test scraps first for different combinations of paper and ink, to avoid ruining something in which you have invested several hours of work!


DICK BLICK CO., Box 1267, Galesburg, IL 61407-1267, 800/477-8192. Wholesale art (including calligraphy) and sign supplies. Old, well-respected company; good prices.

THE KELSEY CO., Box 941, Meriden, CT 06450, 203/235-1695. Wholesale printing and related (including calligraphy) supplies. Old, reliable company; excellent prices.

JERRY'S ARTARAMA, INC., 1105 Hyde Park, New York, NY 10040-8182, 718/343-4545. Wholesale art supplies. Large company.

DOVER PUBLICATIONS, INC., 31 E. 2nd St., Mineola, NY 11015, 516/294-7000. Good source for discount reference books; many on calligraphy related subjects, plus clip-art and stencils.

ZPS, Box 581, Libertyville, IL 60048-2556. Business cards ($11.50 per thousand, raised print) and letterhead. Will print from your copy ready design (cut or whole card).

PUBLISHERS CENTRAL BUREAU, Box 1187, Newark, NJ 07102-1187. Discount reference (etc.) books,

QUILL CORPORATION, 100 Schelter Rd., Lincolnshire, IL 60907-4700, 312/634-4800. 312/634-4800. Office supplies.

NEBS, 500 Main St., Groton, MA 04171, 800/225-6380. Office supplies.

WALTER DRAKE, 4119 Drake Bldg., Colorado Springs, CO 80940. Short run business cards and stationery with no choice of colors or style, but good quality for the price.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Make, buy and sell needlecraft products such as pillows, crocheted or knitted items, quilts, sweaters and bedspreads. There is a huge market for these items -- and even larger number of people who make them. The trouble is that the qualifications for creating these beautiful items (patience, TLC, close attention and years of practice) are quite different from what it often takes to successfully market them!

Many people have a great deal of difficulty selling their needle handiwork. Even when they do, they often don't even get back the cost of the materials. To make money in this area you must FIND and then ASSAULT the market!

When you sell only to friends and neighbors, the "market" quickly becomes saturated and only lowering your prices even more seems to stimulate sales. Unfortunately, human nature is such that most people will pay a decent price only for something made across town by someone they don't know.

Some people view an item made by someone they know (other than family) as "home made" -- a substitute for the real "store bought" thing. But when they buy an item that was crafted by a total stranger, it is "handmade" -- something exquisite (Ah, human nature!).

This explanation does not make much sense, but it unfortunately rings true in too many situations. Even so, it does NOT mean there isn't a good market for YOUR hand made products.

With a little imagination, your items can be marketed tastefully, or better still, SHOWCASED. Compare a homemade quilt hanging on a clothesline beside Grandma Brown's house to a HANDMADE QUILT (same quality) featured in a store window with a pleasing background and a couple of spotlights to show off the beautiful color patterns and intricate stitching!

Think of a clever name; have your own labels made; take some good color pictures of your product, then prepare a brochure or "flyer" (one sheet ad) showing it in its most favorable light.

Draw attention to its detail, fine work, durability and describe how it will become a HANDED DOWN HEIRLOOM in the buyer's family.

Put light colors on dark backgrounds (and vice versa) for contrast in your ads; print (calligraphy would be even better) little cards to "announce" the product in its setting. Tell about the fine materials used and the meticulous work involved -- show your products as the valuable, hand made treasures they are!

Show only a few products (even one) at a time to avoid a clustered or oversupplied appearance, which tends to cheapen the effect, whether the medium is a store window or a brochure.

Use as much skill and planning to present your products as do to create them! How about little tags or folders with something like Aunt Martha's Hand Crafted Pillow Covers, "each one created with loving patience and care?" Doesn't that sound more interesting than "Do you want to buy some pillow covers I made?"

You can advertise your products in the newspaper, magazines, or through bulletin boards and clubs. You can offer finished goods, or take orders for them to be made in a choice of sizes and colors.

One way to advertise inexpensively is to offer a sample of your work as a prize in a community drawing or contest, or for a charity auction (just make sure there are not several other similar items -- too much competition ruins the effect for everyone).

Another technique is to rent a window in a vacant store or one that will lease space or accept a commission on sales made as a result of the display.

Check on fairs and shows on subjects where renting a booth might be an excellent way of meeting potential customers. The "trick" here is to have a "free drawing." People that stop by your booth can register by filling out a small form and keeping the numbered stub. The "price" you realize for whatever you give away is a list of names and addresses of people who were interested in your products.

Now, you can send them brochures and "special offers"! A stall at a flea market may or may not be advisable, depending on the clientele (some are great for auto parts, but no good at all for hand made tablecloths).

Call on stores in your area that might handle products like yours -- ask them to buy yours, or at least take them on consignment (if they do and they sell, switch them to outright purchases later).

If you have or can produce a good quantity of your products, contact a mail order house to see about selling to them, or paying them a commission on sales they make for you.

Regardless of which sales system works out best for you, once you have established a satisfactory "outlet", immediately start making plans to buy other (non-competitive) products of equal quality (or take them on consignment), attach your label and add them to your "line."

You can specify exact products, color combinations quality -- what it takes to qualify for your label -- which is necessary to maintain your reputation and enables other products to be sold through you.

If you are considering mail order sales, place a few "test ads" in smaller publications to learn which type of ad works best for your product.
You need to learn the best wording as well as the best potential market, so keep careful track of which ads are answered by whom (use a box number suffix, suite or department number).

Spend a little time in the library to find magazines that would be a good place for your advertisements, and in others that advertise supplies you need (trade magazines).

When writing to any commercial supplier, always use letterhead paper. The easiest way to do this is to name yourself (use the same name on your product labels).

Order at least a minimum set of letterhead paper and matching envelopes for contacting suppliers.

In this business, as well as any other, records are extremely important. A person who can create quality handmade items is one who should have no trouble keeping neat and accurate records! In the beginning, a simple single entry ledger might be best (unless you are experienced in this area) -- because it will serve as a sort of "diary" as well as business record.


GOODFELLOW, Box 4520, Berkeley, CA 94704. Catalog of toys and handmade home merchandise. Good place to advertise your products. Write for details.

ANNIE'S KNITTING PATTERNS. Box 398, Chestertown, NY 12817. Knitting pattern book, design graphs. Buys and sells.

JAN KNITS Box 315, Ingamar, MT 59039. Knitted sweater kits; garment kits. Buys and sells.

SHELBURNE SPINNERS, North Avenue Extension, Burlington, VT 05401. Knitting kits, Hanspun yarn. Buys and sells.

KITS, Box 182, Madison Lake, MN 56063. Knitting kits. Buys and sells.

DAN NEWMAN CO. 57 Lakeview Ave.,Clifton, NJ 07011. Logos and name tags.

ENJOY MACRAME NEWSLETTER, 3817 N Vermillion, Danville, IL 61832. Newsletter for macrame enthusiasts.

HAND DANCER NEEDLEPOINT DESIGN, Box 480, Northville, NY 12123. Needlepoint kits, buys and sells.

HOOK AND NEEDLE. 31 Broadway, Rockport, MA 01966. Needlepoint kits, buys and sells.

HANDWORKS, Box 545, Smithtown, NY 11787. Needlepoint canvasses. Buys and sells.

JAN'S NEEDLEWORKS, Box 689, Old Bethpage, NY 11804. Needle mug kits; needlework footstool kit; buys and sells.

NEEDLEWORK PORTRAITS, Box 9, Green Farms, CT 06436. Needlepoint portrait kits - from photographs. Buys and sells.

NEEDLEWORK TIMES, Box 87263, Chicago, IL 60680. Newspaper for needlework enthusiasts.

NATIONAL QUILTING ASSN, Box 62, Greenbelt, MD 20770. Publishes PATCHWORK PATTER, magazine for quilting enthusiasts.

THE TREADLE WORKS, 118 Westridge Drive, Portola Valley, CA 94205. Amish design quilting kits.

HARRIS PUBLICATIONS, INC. 79 Madison Ave.,NY 10016. Publishes QUILT magazine.

COVERED BRIDGE FABRIC WORKS, Box 884, Flagstaff, AZ 88022. Good Feelings quilting kits. Buys and sells.

HOMECRAFT SERVICES, 1441 Atlantic, Kansas City, MO 64116. Embroidered quilt designs. Buys and sells.

QUILTS AND OTHER COMFORTS, Box 394, Wheatridge, CO 80033. Quilt kits, pillow kits, quilt patterns and supplies. Buys and sells.

WORK DESIGN, 8916 York Rd.,Charlotte, NC 28224. Latch hook rug kits. Buys and sell.

CRAFTSMAN STUDIO. North Street, Kennebunkport, ME 04046. Rug hooking equipment, hooked rug designs. Buys and sells.

SEW BUSINESS 2100 N Central Rd.,Ft lee, NJ 07024. Monthly publications: ART NEEDLEWORK and QUILT QUARTERLY $15 yr. each.

JANA ASSOCIATES, 49 Longview Rd.,Staten Island, NY 10304. Closeouts: beads, doll eyes, felt pieces, etc.

CREATIVE PRODUCTS, Box 584, Lake Forest, IL 60046. Free subscription to businesses (write on letterhead). Good place to look for sewing product information.

NEEDLE & THREAD MAGAZINE, 4949 Byers, Ft Worth, TX 76107. Also publishes NEEDLECRAFT FOR TODAY.

HOUSE OF WHITE BIRCHES, Box 337, Seabrook, NH 03874. Publishes STITCH N' SEW and WOMEN'S CIRCLE - as the National Friendly Homemakers Club. Both quarterly -$6 yr.

C.M. ALMY & SON, INC. 37 Purchase St.,Rye, NY 10580. Yarns, even weave cloth, ecclesiastical supplies. Buys and sells.

LAURA'S CREATIVE STITCHERY, Box 291, Bountiful, UT 84014. Pillow kits, quilting kits, patterns. Buys and sells.

ROMNI WOOLS & FIBERS, LTD., 3779 W. 10th Ave.,Vancouver, BC, Canada. V6R 2G5. Spinning wheels, carding equipment, weaving looms; Buys and sells.

DOVER PUBLICATIONS, INC. 31 East 2nd St.,Mineola, NY 11051. Discount books, clip art, stencils, etc.

QUILL CORPORATION, 100 Schelter Rd.,Lincolinshire, IL 60917-4700, 312/634-4800. Office supplies.

NEBS, 500 Main St.,Groton, MA 04171, 800/225-6380. Office supplies.

SWEDCO, Box 29, Mooresville, NC 28115. 3 line rubber stamps - $3; business cards - $13 per thousand.

ZPS, Box 581, Libertyville, IL 60048-2556. Business cards (raised print - $11.50 per K) and letterhead stationery. Will print your copy ready logo or design, even whole card.

WALTER DRAKE, 4119 Drake Bldg.,Colorado Springs, CO 80940. Short run business cards, stationery, etc. Good quality but no choice of style or color.

Monday, November 10, 2008


If you are planning on beginning a business, your best bet is to start out part-time while you are still earning a full-time income at your present job. If you are like most people who are existing from payday to payday -- you don't have a lot of money to invest in a full-time business. No need to worry! Just use your favorite hobby as your business base and grow from there! There's no telling where you'll be at 2 or 3 years down the road. Perhaps you can even tell your present boss to "take that job and shove it." Wouldn't that be great?

Using your present hobby or favorite pastime as your business base has many benefits. Why? Because ANY business you decide to become involved in should be doing something you LOVE -- something you believe in -- something that you would work at NO MATTER what income it would generate. This will give you the stamina to see your business through the beginning hard times and times when there is more work to do than you can handle. We all know the feeling of doing a job that we hate to do. There is no way we can give it 110% of our abilities because we procrastinate getting through it and just want to get it over with. That's why it is vitally important to dearly love the product or service you have chosen to build your business around.

Do you like cooking? Start a recipe newsletter for others who like the same thing and sell your recipes by publishing a simple booklet. Do you enjoy making crafts? Sell them through mail order (be sure and mark up the price for shipping and handling). Do you enjoy working on cars? Print and distribute flyers in your neighborhood listing your prices. Offer a coupon discount for the customer to use on their first auto repair job. Do you enjoy writing? Write a small booklet or how-to manual and sell it through mail order or to multi-level enthusiasts. Do you enjoy computer programming? Write a program and sell through shareware groups or even to mail order computer owners.

Yes -- just about anything you love doing can be magically transformed into a business opportunity for you. Some items may only sell well in your neighborhood, while some products and services do well in mail order. If you decide to sell through mail order, all you need to do is write a simple ad and have it typeset. Start out with a smaller 1-inch, 2-inch or 3-inch ad. Ask the customer to send a "first-class stamp" or "$1.00" for more information. When they write you, include a 8 1/2x11 sheet detailing your prices. Make sure you have a small order form to make it easy to order your product or service. And of course -- include a cover letter stating that you appreciate their inquiry and look forward to doing business with them in the near future. You'd be surprised how many sales have been lost because a business didn't take the time to write a cover letter and personalize the mailing.

Also, start educating yourself by reading and researching other home-based businesses. Before I opened up my business I read national publications like "Small Business Opportunities," "Entrepreneur," "Home Office Computing," and "Spare Time Magazine." Although there were some full page ads in there filled with hype (claiming to make me $1 million dollars with a sheet of paper) -- the articles are excellent. Don't spend more than $3 for information in the beginning of your business because if a company is legitimate you should be able to call them and discuss the opportunity over the phone with them. Businesses that claim to put you in business overnight should never demand a large amount of money from you. On the contrary -- legitimate businesses have nothing to hide and will not charge you more than a few dollars in postage to learn the "whole" story behind their claims. Instead -- use these publications, as well as books from the library on starting a business to further your knowledge of the world.

Another good move on your part is to invest a few hours by attending a meeting that is sponsored by SCORE from the Small Business Administration in your area. It's free -- and the valuable information you obtain from actual people who have been in business before is something that will be extremely valuable in the months ahead. Just call the SBA to find out more information.

Yes -- it's that easy! Of course, this is only the beginning. As with any hobby, it will take time (probably many months) to realize a profit but think of it this way: Most people that have a hobby know they have to spend money to take part in their hobby. It only makes sense to invest money in advertising your hobby to others so you can eventually make some of that money back in sales for your own business!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Create and market your hand-made candles. This business, along with its closely related cousins soapmaking and plastercraft does not automatically progress from the hobby to business stage without a good deal of planning and effort.

The volume sellers must compete with cheaper, less stylish mass-produced and often imported products. But, with perseverance and ingenuity, it can be done!

Candle making is a highly versatile craft -- one that encompasses unlimited opportunities for creativity. Candles can be dipped, molded, rolled, fused, layered, sculptured or any combination of processes. They may be colored (dyed, painted or tinted) within and without;; they can be scented or can have embedded materials such as beads or shells, coated or whipped (foamed).

An illustration of candle making ingenuity and versatility is hot yellow-orange wax poured over small ice cubes. When the ice melts and the wax sets, it leaves cavities that look like Swiss cheese!


a place to work (it is too dangerous and messy for the kitchen),

adequate storage space for materials,

a relatively cool place to put finished candles (they will sag in hot temperatures),

utensils to melt and blend the waxes, molds and wax additives.
Startup supplies should include wax (sold in sheets or slabs), colors, stearic acid, temperature gauge, double broiler, a heating medium, molds and mold accessories (wick, lead, clay, etc.).

Equipment and supplies to get started at the crafts level should run in neighborhood of $200 from a professional supplier like Pourette (see Business Sources).

The candle making process is not complicated, but does require time and attention to detail for safety reasons as well as product quality.

Melting wax is highly volatile and can catch fire easily (this is why double broilers are used)if one isn't very careful. In the standard molding process, raw wax is melted and brought to about 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

During this time, certain additives such as stearic acid, colors and scents are added. Meanwhile, the mold is cleaned and sprayed with release (silicon). A wick inserted from the bottom and tied to a stick across the top and the hole in the bottom sealed with clay.

Note that the top of the mold equates to the bottom of the candle, and vice versa! Heavy lead wires (weights) are wrapped around the bottom of the mold.

The mold placed in a convenient position to receive the hot wax. When the wax is ready it is slowly and carefully poured down the side of the mold to prevent bubbles from forming.. The mold is filled to the top.

The remaining wax is kept at ready temperature and used to refill the hollow that forms as the wax shrinks, a natural result of the cooling process.

During this process the mold is frequently placed in cool water to speed the cooling process (the reason for the lead wire). If the candles meant to be hollow (like hurricane candle),, the still molten center is poured back as soon as the sides cool to the desired thickness (about 1/2 inch). When cool, the candle is removed from the mold, the wick trimmed and any final touches made.

Molds can be solid plaster of pairs,metal or metal shells, or flexible plastic. The flexible plastic and metal molds are the most popular. It is difficult to make your own molds for many projects. Most anything can be used for a mold -- from hollowed out wet sand to paper cones.

To make a flexible rubber mold, coat the subject with the commercial silicon formula and paint on successive coats (after each coat dries) of compound until the desired thickness is reached.

Allow your mold to cure and then simply peel it off and start making casts. The procedure for using most molds is similar except that some need to be fastened together (2 or more parts and some need to be supported (in sand, plaster or even water).

There are unlimited variations that can result in strikingly different and very impressive candles.

One is dipping a partially formed candle into vats of different colored wax, then peeling back layers with a knife to reveal the contrasting colors and textures.

Another is filling a cavity in damp sand with wax, which yields a candle with a sandy surface.

One "secret" technique was discovered by accident. A rubber mold was made of a wooden statue purchased in the Philippines. The statue had been made by aborigines who used shoe polish for a "stained" finish.

The heat from the mold curing process caused the shoe polish to break away from the wood and mar the smooth finish. The resulting mold imparted a pitted or frosted type surface to the molded candle -- not desired (and expected) smooth shiny surface.

The candle maker made several black candles and applied bronze. "rub and Buff" and the results were fantastic. The candles looked like they were made of solid bronze and sold like wildfire!

The way to get started is to order supplies and begin as a craft or hobby. Get your wax from as close to home as possible to save on freight (you will need about 50lbs. to start).When you feel confident of your ability and have a pretty good idea of the market, you are ready to consider becoming a business. Make up some samples, take some pictures and sell.

The difficult part is marketing ( due to competition from commercial, import and hobby candle makers). Some suggested techniques are:

Concentrate initially on a few items that you can produce expertly on a fairly large scale for wholesaling to gift stores. Examples: Anniversary or hurricane candles.

Develop an "original" candle or series and market them as exclusives, either wholesale or retail. Examples: Statue of local hero, school emblem.

Visit local retailers and ask what they could use at what price; plan your production with their responses in mind.

Set up a display (rent a window in a vacant store) to show candles you have to offer; include a sign with your number or address.

Organize candle making classes, charge a fee and sell not only the finished products but supplies as well.

Rent a booth at a good flea market each holiday season and "test" the market and sell of any remaining stock.

Have professional pictures taken of your best work, make up a catalog or send the pictures and descriptions (of candles you can mass produce) to catalog houses.
Anyone who works with candles just a few weeks will automatically come up with numerous original ideas and variations.

That is one of the beauties of this craft -- it almost forces you to be creative! Whether you produce a low volume of exquisite, high quality candles or a high volume of easier to produce candles, big ones or little ones is entirely up to you.

One candle may be highly profitable if it is a work of art. Note that candle making does not restrict you to wax only. You can sell other items that are decorated or complimented by candles, such as driftwood centerpieces with candles.

Soap making is very similar to candle making in that they are both molded, colored, and scented.

In fact, many of the molds and ingredients are interchangeable. Plaster craft is also related (the same molds can be used, so long as they are thoroughly cleaned).

For ceramics you use totally different and much more expensive) equipment, though many of the artistic skills are very similar.

The most glaring potential problem area in candle making is the danger of fire from the wax. Don't even THINK of melting wax without a good double broiler and fire extinguisher handy.

If the wax were to boil over, splash onto an open flame (or red heating element) a very serious fire could result. Anytime you are melting wax, make sure it is watched CONSTANTLY and that it is not allowed to get too hot.


POURETTE MFG. CO.,6818 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, 206/525-4488. Candle and soap making equipment and supplies. Old, reliable company.

CAROLINA SOAP & CANDLE MAKERS, Southern Pines, NC 28387. Line of wholesale candles.

K & L CANDLES, Box 322, Warren, RI 02885. Line of religious and 250 other types of candles and related products.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


"I really didn't know much about stained glass, only what I'd seen in gift shops," said Hal Williams, owner of Eagle Mountain Stained Glass Studio in Ridgecrest, California. So it was back in 1976, with "zero artistic background" that Williams and his wife Mary decided to take a class on stained glass at the community college. At that time they were both working as paramedics in Las Vegas, Nevada, and had extra time between shifts on the job.

Soon they became good friends with their instructor who owned a stained glass studio. By the end of the year, Williams was hired on at the studio as an apprentice. He stayed there for the next two years, learning most of what he would need to know to start his own business.

Then Williams moved to Houston, Texas, and started to work in his own studio part-time while holding a full-time job in the steel business. when Williams was laid off, however, her and his wife decided to move back to their hometown Ridgecrest, California -and start a stained glass business full-time. "Mary knew people here, but I didn't know a soul," says Williams. "But since I'd had some sales experience, I just started knocking on doors.

Williams started a large studio at his home and worked out of it for quite some time. He gained more experience and training by attending various seminars and workshops around the country.


"All I had was the bare necessities - my hand tools and a bench," says Williams. Eventually, for about $100 Williams purchased a glass grinder used to grind glass down for precision fitting. Next, he bought a diamond band saw for about $700. This he used for tricky cutting such as 90 degree angles and cutting that cannot be done by hand - it gives the glass worker a professional cut. To round out his studio, Williams bought a glass kiln for $2,000. The kiln is used for glass painting and fusing. It is a necessity when one is restoring the windows of old churches, which Williams has done. "Most of these tools are not necessary when just starting out, but they do save a lot of time for the professional," says Williams.

Initially, Williams made a large purchase of glass, lead, solder and other supplies because he felt it was necessary to keep these supplies on hand and ready. Since Williams was making so many time-consuming trips to Los Angeles for his materials, he decided to purchase a month's supply at a time. A month's worth of supplies costs him between $1,000 and $1,500.

Other essentials for Williams office include a work table (which he built himself for under $100) and a bench equipped with a built-in light. He uses this bench to trace patterns onto the stained glass pieces.


"Taking everything into consideration, if you are really creative, you can start up for about $2,000," says Williams. "That is if you start with a home studio." When you are building the stained glass business from scratch, one of the first things you should do is check your competition. This will tell you exactly what supplies to carry. It is obvious that if you don't have a wide pallet of colored glass to choose from, you will lose your business to the guy that does.

If you do have competition, be sure there's enough consumer interest to justify your new business. To attract customers to your shop and widen your customer base, offer to teach what you know. Williams went to the local college to offer to teach his skills in stained glass, which they cordially accepted. He is licensed and now teaches twenty-five students a semester.

He also approached local housing contractors and explained that not only could he provide excellently crafted stained glass, but he could also install it and do any necessary repairs on the job. This appealed to them because it would save a considerable amount of money. Their first contract was for stained glass work on twenty-five new houses. Williams created stained glass for front doors and side-lights. Popular colors are various hues of blue, mauve, and desert shades for floral, animal, or desert scenes.

Williams has a regular business license to do stained glass work, but if you also do the installation, work yourself you must have a contractors license.


"Proper bidding, I think is very important in stained glass," said Williams. "If you underbid, you are going to eat it, and if you overbid you are going to lose the job." Williams started out bidding very low so he could get the jobs and prove himself. As time went on he raised his prices, but he is still lower than his competitors. Now he is well known in his area, and gets a lot of good jobs.

Williams makes approximately $3,000 a month on custom work and the sales of supplies, a figure which does not include his contract work and teaching. Williams also has a gift shop in his downtown studio. "To make a decent wage you have to charge a decent price," says Williams.


Although he gets excellent exposure at his street-front location.. Williams still advertises. He has tried radio and newspapers, but finds that he gets the best results from the local swap sheet. He also carries a large ad in the Yellow Pages. Word of mouth has also been a very important advertising factor.

"We listen to what the customer wants, show him what we can do, and do the job right," says Williams. The Williams may expand even further someday, if they ever get the time, but right now their prosperous stained glass studio is keeping them very busy.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


This is a business where a person with no art talent can produce art!

Temple or gravestone rubbing is believed to have originated with the ancient (300 BC) Chinese. It was an efficient method of communicating the "written word" and a forerunner to the printing press.

The Emperors had their laws, slogans and messages carved in stone (that's easy for an Emperor to do) then transformed to parchment by rubbing with colored wax or other permanent dye material. Centuries later, pictures (stone and metal reliefs) were carved expressly for this purpose and today several Asian countries feature large temple rubbings commonly called batiks, which is technically a misnomer.

The name batik more properly refers to designed fabric that is coated with a wax, a design scratched or applied with a heated tool, and dipped in dye. Since the dye only affects parts not protected or by wax, the design remains when the wax is washed out. A marbling effect can be achieved when the dye is allowed (or forced) to seep into cracks in the wax caused by crumpling when cooled.

Although carved stone and metals are the most popular subjects for rubbing, virtually any solid relief surface can yield an interesting rubbing product: medals, leaves, architectural reliefs, cultural, historic, or commemorative plaques.

Most commercial rubbings come from church and courtyard reliefs. Their attraction and value are enhanced by unusual materials, novel rubbing techniques, impressive frames and by novel innovations such as certificates of authenticity.

Perhaps the most interesting source for rubbings is old graveyards - in any country! The markers and design are not only historical, they are often art works of a bygone age.

Temple rubbings and gravestone rubbings are essentially the same. Generally, impressions of oriental designs are called temple rubbings, while gravestone rubbings are usually from markers and tombs. The two terms can be used interchangeably in the business.

A major market for gravestone rubbings is descendants and genealogical projects. Many family records include information from old markers; some have photographs and/or rubbings of those old markers.. Because some of the stone markers are in soft material like limestone, the photographs may eventually be the only legible record.

Gravestone rubbings from the tomb of an ancient relative might be considered quite a prize - and not for just for their sentimental value.

The basic tools needed to begin the art of temple or gravestone rubbings are:

A piece of dry sponge, foam plastic or blackboard eraser and a soft brush to prepare the surface that is to be rubbed.

Fabric or paper to place over the design to reproduce it.

A rubbing marker, such as a commercial lumber crayon, or large flat sided school crayon to rub over the design.

Tape and twine to hold the fabric in place - and perhaps a kneeling pad.

For the rubbing fabric, its is best to use white butcher paper at first. It is expensive and will do for learning and can even be saved and mounted.

To make your rubbings look their best, however, it is best to feature an unusual or interesting fabric. One idea is to use marbleized paper, another is to buy or make your own special effect fabric; still another is wallpaper - fabric or paper with a nice texture.

The fabric and frame should be coordinated and both should complement or contrast with the rubbing itself. A variation is to use a light fabric for the actual rubbing, and contrasting dark color and/or texture for a border within the frame.

Another idea for a marker is to make your own applicator. A pad should be relatively flat, porous and about 4" across (although others sizes might be used for special parts of the job).

One suggestion is to start with a cutout circle of 1/8" plywood, about 3" in diameter. Glue a powder puff to one side and a handle to the other, then cover with a piece of 1/4" thick foam rubber (like wet suit material). Tie the foam material together on the handle side to leave a smooth convex surface on the rubbing side. This "tool" can be dipped in burnt umbra or other wet or dry stain and rubbed in a light circular motion to produce a very smooth, unstreaked reproduction of the relief.

Variations in rubbing pressure, staining material color and consistency, size and shape of the pad, fabric and your rubbing techniques will produce a wide variety of effects. Experiment until you find the ones you want.

Frames can be purchased or custom made. If not covered with glass, the finished rubbing should be sprayed with a protective covering such as Gloss Finish, which is used to spray finished charcoal drawings to prevent smearing (available at any art store).

The higher your asking price, the more important it is to protect and "showcase" your finished rubbing "under glass."

To make your first temple rubbing, select your subject, and a nice dry day. Clean the surface thoroughly with your sponge or brush. Use a little vinegar to for stubborn moss spots (let it dry before attempting to rub). Do not use anything harder or you risk scoring the surface which can damage the subject and lower the quality of your rubbing. Remove as much moss as possible for the best representation.

Next, place the fabric over the design and tape (or tie) it in place. Always use larger sheets fabric so there is plenty of margin to tie or tape without touching any of the surface that is to appear in your finished rubbing.

Peel off the paper from your crayon marker ( or dip your sponge pad) and use the flat side of the marker to gently rub over the raised portions of the design from the center outward all around until you have a light representation of the design.

Reverse directions and work from the outside in, gradually applying more and more pressure until you have just the amount of color, contrast and design that you want.. Study your rubbing from all angles and distances while it is still held firmly in place. Darken desired areas and correct any errors BEFORE removing the tape or ties. Once you move the fabric, you are finished with that impression!

It should be mentioned here that some "experts" deliberately move their rubbing fabrics slightly during their process. They complete the rubbing in the basic color then move the fabric slightly. The next step is to go over the highlights with a contrasting color - for a sort of highlight or 3-D effect.

Especially in a foreign country, always check with the proper authorities before attempting any type of rubbing activity, regardless of whether the object is on private, public or religious property.

It is not only good manners, but it can save embarrassment and possibly hard feelings. There could be religious, political, family or cultural considerations as well as property rights.

It is impossible to predict what your temple and/or gravestone rubbing might sell for (somewhere in the $10 to $1,000 range?). The price you realize will depend on the quality of your work, the subjects and their artistic appeal, as well as their frames and the manner in which they are marketed. The highest prices can be realized with glass covered creations in a attractive, contrasting fabric bordered frames and presented in art gallery fashion.

Tip: If your subjects are oriental, you might hire an oriental person to sell market them.

Persons visiting or serving in overseas assignments have a unique opportunity to find interesting and historical rubbing subjects,. But, there are also plenty of "stateside" opportunities as well.

Consider just one specialty: epitaphs. There are some pretty curious examples in some of the old graveyards across the country, including funny sayings, terse explanation of occupant's downfall and not a few with major errors.

In the past, most markers were not carved by professionals or scholars - many were made by people who hardly could read and knew very little about stone carving. Some have words or letters missing or crammed in at the end of lines. Some even have corrections - IN STONE! There are some very interesting (and valuable) collections out there - patiently waiting for an enterprising entrepreneur.


THE KELSEY CO., Box 941, Meriden, CT 06450, 203/235-1695. Printing and related materials and equipment; type, paper, presses, wood and linoleum blocks, etc. Old, reliable company.

DICK BLICK CENTRAL, Box 1267, Galesburg, IL 61407-1267, 800/477-8192. Wholesale art, sign, ceramic, sculpture supplies. Old, reliable company.

EL DO PLASTICS, INC., Box 451, El Dorado, AR 71730, 800/643-1556. Magnetic sign and engraver supplies; has sponge rubber pads (called Davis Daubers). Reliable company.

MEYERS PUBLISHING CO., 2135 Summer St., Stamford, CT 06945, 203/356-1745. Publishes ART BUSINESS NEWS, trade magazine for art and picture frame dealers.

FABRIC FINDERS, 125 Wold Rd., Albany, NY 12205. Wholesale fabrics (first quality and seconds).

JAPS, 126 7th Ave., Hopkins, NM 55343. Picture framing supplies; offers framing guide for $3; free catalog.

PICTURE ART INDUSTRIES, 2566 Stirling Rd., Hollywood, FL 33020, 305/921-6664. Wholesale framed pictures featuring lithograph prints under glass; over 1,000 pieces.

COMMUNICATIONS CHANNELS, INC., 5266 Barfield Rd., Atlanta, GA 30328, 404/256-9800. Publishes ART MATERIAL TRADE NEWS, "The Journal of all art, craft, engineering and drafting supplies".

DOVER PUBLICATIONS, INC., 31 East 2nd St., Mineola, NY 11051. Discount books, clip art, stencils, etc.

QUILL CORPORATION, 100 Schelter Rd., Lincolnshire, IL 60917-4700, 312/634-4800. Office supplies.

SWEDCO, Box 29, Mooresville, NC 28115. 3 line rubber stamps and business cards.