Monday, December 7, 2015

Small-town Christmas Bazaar

handmade notecards

There is a certain nostalgic charm to small-town Christmas Bazaars, and this past weekend I shopped one of the best in the state.  One Saturday only, every December, a small-town high school in north-central Wisconsin opens its doors to nearly 80 vendors, filling the cafeteria and gymnasium with handmade crafts, and they've been doing this for thirty-seven years.

handmade scroll saw wall plaque

The building is filled with the smell of caramel popcorn and apple cider, and the isles are packed with shuffling customers, who are making laps and toting bags and trying to remember "which vendor was it?" that had that perfect gift for Grandma.

"Nun soap" handmade at the Institute of St. Joseph

I am a sucker for handmade crafts, knowing how much time, effort and passion goes into each item.  I've been on the opposite side of that table, hawking my yarns, smiling all day, hoping to make enough money to cover the booth fee.  So many vendors are older folks, who have taken their talent in a particular hobby and turned it into a viable craft to occupy their retirement years.  I love talking to those vendors.  They have so many years of experience, and with only a little prompting, will tell you all the how's and why's about whatever piece you're purchasing.

handmade notebooks also from the nuns at St. Joseph's

So I made the rounds, and went around again.  I picked up business cards from several booths and promised to find them on facebook when I got back home again.  My daughter begged me to buy her an early birthday present (one guess as to which craft she choose from those pictured here).  I promptly ran out of cash and was thankful that a few home-grown vendors had the new-fangled technology to swipe my credit card.  And I even purchased Shetland yarn from a vendor who's booth looked just like mine! 

handmade flower from pure Shetland yarns
And so I say a heartfelt "Thank you!" to the Papercrafter, the Woodworker, the Nuns and the Shepherdess, who each in their own special way, have made my Christmas special.  And thank you's are also in order to the Beekeeper, the Knitter, the Jewelry Students and the High-School-Girls-Selling-Bath-Scrub for taking the time to tell me about your crafts.  I wish I could have purchased from each and every one of you.  These home crafters are keeping alive arts which would otherwise fade away.  They are enriching their own lives through the creative process, and in turn enriching our lives by sharing their talents.  I am a huge promoter of the Shop Local and Shop Small Business movement, which seems to be gaining momentum these days, but please don't forget to Shop Handmade this Season. 


  1. That soap is so pretty, especially the rooster, I am not sure I could use it OR I'd buy 2 and put one in a pretty display of soaps, lotions, etc. in a spare bathroom. So pretty.

  2. Our Church does a bazaar every year also. The only different is the members make stuff for the Church to sell. Every year I find myself rushing to finish. This year I told my self that I would do something each month. To keep on top of things.We'll see how that go's since I haven't started for this month. LOL

    1. Great idea in trying to craft a little each month, Michelle. Unfortunately with the deadline so far out, I'd still put it off until November! lol


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