We had a really good day yesterday and I put a pretty big dent in my holiday list. Although I don’t tend to go overboard on getting gifts. I usually give either something that I made with wood or painted (or both) and people seem to like that.
Some of you may remember from last year that one of my biggest passions that I have is cool boxes. This year is no different. We have some places here that really do a great job of stocking cool and unusual boxes for gift giving and keeping. These aren’t the kind that fold flat and just pop up to stay put. No sir-ee! They are each in themselves a gift and some are works of art. My particular favorite that I found was a scalloped edge box with beautiful pictures of cats on it. It has a Victorian flavor and I can think of a couple of people who would like them. I would also like them myself, and I actually bought two of them with the thought that maybe I would be hanging onto one for my own pleasure.
The best thing about them is that they are relatively cheap (the cat one shown was only $6!) and it is a great storage box whether you use it to store holiday decorations, or keep it out all year for those little things you want tucked away yet close at hand. I kind of consider it “recycling with style” and I believe that sort of come to expect something like that from me. And that is nice.
Besides, the kitty boxes, I have several in my ‘stash’ that are really nice and I think I am just about set for this season. And it is still only November!
The show we went to was a bit of a disappointment to me. It wasn’t that it was ‘bad’, but with reading the advertisement that I posted yesterday and with seeing how much the cost was to participate (nearly $300) I suppose I expected things to be a bit different than what we saw. I am not saying it was all bad, but we all found that there was not a really great variety of high quality stuff there.
The first thing we noted that was quite obvious was that there were far too many jewelry vendors. It seemed like about a quarter of the show was the same type of beaded jewelry. There was one table which had pewter pieces, but other than that, it looked as if all the jewelry vendors could have been pretty much the same person.
There were also too many fudge places. I think there were probably about eight places that only had fudge. Again, it was nice, but if you seen one place with 25 varieties of fudge, you kind of have seen them all.
I was surprised that there were so few real unique hand crafted items there. There was a vendor who had nice things made from leather, and I almost bought a leather covered journal, but I reminded myself of my reason fro being there (to shop for others) and restrained. I did get a nice set of emu oil products, including soap and cream and some other things that I plan to put in yet another beautiful box I acquired and give to may daughter-in-law as a gift set. That was nice.
As far as wood items, there were very few. While one gentleman had some turned pens, they seemed to be more of an afterthought than anything, and I don’t even remember what the bulk of the items he was selling were. There was another man who had a variety of turned items, including bottle stoppers, pens and shaving items. These were of better quality than the other guys, and Keith was a bit discouraged after seeing how low he had priced them, but I assured Keith that the quality was nowhere near the quality of his stuff. The kits he used were basic and the finish on the pens and items was practically non-existent, or minimal at the very best. I think it was like comparing apples and oranges to compare these to what I was used to seeing here from Keith.
I did buy some jams and cheese for myself. There was a vendor there who had a wonderful array or gouda cheeses in several flavors and I treated myself to a sampler package of six varieties because I couldn’t decide what I liked best. And the cranberry/blueberry and cranberry/raspberry jams that I purchased were both unique and wonderful. Nova Scotia has many cranberry farms and all the fruit was home grown. It is always a treat for me.
As we walked away, I felt a little bit like a snob. I couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed in the overall show. Among the nice things I mentioned, there were many ‘average’ things that you would see at any show. I felt the absence of any really quality woodworking such as the cutting boards, ornaments, boxes and other things that I have come to see here on Lumberjocks. I think that many of the people from here could have cleaned up at a show like this.
I don’t think it would be worth the high cost for Keith and I to participate in a show such as this. With having to spend the time and money to stay overnight at a hotel (it was about 2.5 hours drive) it just wouldn’t be a good call for us. I am really happy that we looked in on it first, and I did feel that what I did find was nice and I contributed to our locals.
The rest of the day was spent back in New Minus shopping and enjoying the season. It was a great time to pick around in the stores, as the holidays items were freshly displayed and because it was Friday there were few crowds to deal with. All in all it was a great day and quite exhausting.
Today we are unpacking and sorting our haul and it kicked us into an ‘organization mode’. We are going through all the excess we have here in our little place and will be spending the day going through things and getting some to our storage area and just freshening things up.
I am sorry that I didn’t have pictures of the show, but it was frowned upon and I didn’t want to violate their wishes.
My advice to anyone who is thinking of doing a show such as this – especially when the cost is substantial – is to go the year before you plan to participate and scout it out. You may find out that it isn’t worth your time or money and even though it requires some patience to do so, you won’t regret it in the end.
I hope you enjoy your Saturday. I am going to get back to organizing.
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"