Check up on Santa at Christmas in July

Susan, Jeremy and I went on an adventure to the HoCoFairgrounds, and the results were great!  Our chief accomplishment was a “keep forever” photo with Santa and Mrs Claus.  Having attended many Christmas events, I can say that Jeremy and I are sometimes “Santa snobs,” and this team was the real deal.  Unlike the fanfare he receives in November and December, it’s tough hanging out at a summer gig–even with air conditioning–but Santa and his wife were perfectly relaxed and delightfully ready to chat.

In addition, we networked and shopped for several hours.  This including a long-ish conversation with a woman named Glorious!  Her display included sewn items that make great gifts.  The dog mats that Susan and I purchased didn’t make it wrapping paper, though.  We just gave them to ourselves.

Jeremy was a little more serious-minded; he shopped more methodically and came away with several surprises for friends and family.

We talked for a while to local business owner Traci from Blooms by Bennetta.  She makes beautiful flowers from wood.  You have to see them.  I had no idea the kinds of colors and shapes that she can make–they look real and last forever.

We tasted some great horseradish sauces by Moore’s Sauces by Leslie.  Here’s another moment where you think–horseradish sauce?  One of them was combined with Old Bay.  The husband and wife team have the best logo–“She’s hot. He’s Spicy: Taste the Passion!”–and the best relationship.

One of the stalls where we spent a lot of time was “Buy the Sea.”  The mother/daughter team creates beautiful images (many are crabs) with sea glass.

I likedthe Grinch display, too–this  Grinch is by Crafty Crab. We will see  Clair again at Timonium #FOTMD in November.

Overall, the event was not as crowded as expected.  I guess it’s difficult to attract Christmas shoppers in July on a perfectly beautiful weekend, but we had fun.  Shout out to Rachel Hare (@geekcrafter7) for creating the Instagram event that let me use know what was happening!

Don’t do it alone!

On Saturday, my sister Susan and her two sons (ages 9 and almost 5) spent the rainy day at my house.  We drew up a list of what we might want to accomplish. Everyone got to contribute to the possibilities.  It looked something like this:

  • Make a Lego creation for Howard County Fair
  • Make waffles
  • Drink hot chocolate
  • Feed chickens watermelon
  • Jelly sandwich taste test–which jelly is the best?
  • Birthday present craft for two grandmothers (cannot be revealed because two grandmothers read this blog)
  • Small turtle craft made from foam pieces
  • Wax paper butterfly mobiles
  • Clay pot people (birthday or Christmas gifts)

I admit that this is a ridiculously involved list, and there was no expectation that all of it would be accomplished; however, the key factor in the success of the day of crafting, for me, was having my sister present to motivate me.  She brought her supplies and ideas.  I brought mine, and away we went.  Roger clears out when we bring up the extra folding table!

My point is that if Jeremy wants to get that nativity set made, he might want to recruit a friend who is willing to make a set, too.  Not everyone likes to work this way, but thinking back to the popularity of quilting and knitting circles, I think many people benefit from the energy of the group.

(Here’s a tip:  When I am working with my nieces and nephews, often, I try to have a photograph of the finished product and/or one I have made myself with clear steps that can be checked off as we go.  Everyone benefits from knowing the end result. And don’t choose something that takes more than 30 – 40 minutes when working with elementary children.)

I made jelly with a friend earlier this summer, and some of those jars will be gifts.  Canning is a labor-intensive task that is most definitely better when shared.  What might have been a lonely, hot, sweaty day was enhanced by conversation and blueberry smoothies.

One of my friends once said that making cookies together was the best Christmas gift I could have given her.  Another said that wrapping presents together was a gift in itself.   I recommend that if you are getting a slow start on your hand-made Christmas gifts, purchase two of everything and recruit a friend.

P.S.  Fig jelly was the favorite–yes, it’s true.  I believe some people (especially children) turn off when they hear “fig” jelly, but it is better than blueberry and peach.  I have the ballots to prove it!