Ruth Benson’s Sunshine Recycling Greeting Cards and Calendar Group (Crafting for Adults) will meet every Friday from noon to 2 p.m. in the 100 Mile House Library’s Programme Room. beginning on Friday, September 6. Raven Nyman photo.

Cost-free adult crafting classes come to the South Cariboo this September

‘What I want to promote is a group having fun, something to come to that doesn’t cost them’

A local volunteer has decided to offer no-cost or commitment adult crafting classes in the community this September.

Ruth Benson’s Sunshine Recycling Greeting Cards and Calendar Group (Crafting for Adults) will meet every Friday from noon to 2 p.m. in the 100 Mile House Library’s Programme Room, beginning on Friday, Sept. 6.

“I want people to gather and have fun, meet new people,” said Benson of her goals for the class. “I just want them to feel like they’re going [back] to school.”

Benson’s Crafting for Adults, which she also refers to as “glorified scrapbooking” will focus on repurposing old cards or calendars into new greeting cards and other crafting endeavours.

After unofficially teaching other library visitors some of her repurposing projects in the past, Benson was inspired to set up classes, since she had already found plenty of interest.

No experience is necessary, and all levels are welcome to participate weekly. Crafters won’t need to register for the hands-on classes, either, but are welcome to drop in to participate at no cost if and when they please. Benson said it will be a great way to meet people and make new friends, too.

“What I want to promote is a group having fun, something to come to that doesn’t cost them.”

Classes will begin at 12 p.m. on Fridays, and although the CRD is not sponsoring the program as an official library function, the library will allow Benson’s class to use its meeting room weekly for their social and artistic purposes.

Participants may bring their own stickers, scissors, and supplies if they choose, but Benson also has a variety of materials available for those who drop-in. She has an expansive collection of home-made stickers and supplies, and has used everything from wall-paper to magazine clippings to create her personalized greeting cards.

She also clips out poems and other sentiments to include in her projects, but Benson actually got started in repurposing greeting cards and calendars after accidentally bringing home card stock instead of computer paper.

“I made a mistake and so I thought, ‘What can I do with this?’ I went to my cards and started recycling and turning them into beautiful cards and I thought, someday, I’m going to teach a group, so I just kept collecting for three years.”

She grew up in Forest Grove and has been an active volunteer in the South Cariboo for years. Most notably, she volunteers weekly at the long-term care facility, Fischer Place to provide free entertainment to the senior residents there.

She calls her Wednesday show “Ruth’s Party”, and has performed as a one-woman musical and dancing act at Fischer Place every single week for the past 16 years.

“I have 52 themes and do musical theatre with them for an hour. I [also] design clothing for it. This week I’m doing Elvis.”

Previously, Benson and her husband Ron also provided “She and I” DJ services to the community, but they have now re-opened that venture under a new name, “R & R DJ Services.” The two will perform at the local Legion this Friday.

“I’m used to a group and I’m used to not worrying about what people think about me,” said Benson with a smile.

She has given out many repurposed greeting cards and has also taught her creative passion to others one-on-one.

“I’ve got tons of supplies I’ve collected to share because they’re recycled.”

Benson said that almost every lady she has talked to of her age has described engaging in a similar repurposing practice, whether they do so with Christmas wrapping and old cards, or other materials.

“I would like them to bring a few calendars or cards to start with, then they can learn from there.”

“You personal the cards,” Benson explained, noting that she typically starts off with an image or sentiment that inspires her. “I think I have so much to teach.”

She hopes to see participants start cutting out their own inspirations, too, from magazines or elsewhere, for future repurposing creations in the collaborative craft setting.

The group might even take the form of a “show and tell” setting, as there are many retired folks around town looking for something to do, said Benson, noting that creativity is in everyone, to some degree.

“It’s drop-in. I would like people just to come, check it out, and see if they’d like to do it themselves. If they miss a couple weeks, that’s fine, too. I’d just like to see people coming and going.”

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Benson has an expansive collection of home-made stickers and supplies, and has used everything from wall-paper and old calendars to magazine clippings while creating her personalized, repurposed greeting cards. Raven Nyman photo.

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