Craft shows are sign of the season Creativity: Craft show fund-raisers are a staple for many organizations -- as are the people who run them year after year.

November 06, 1998|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Come autumn, holiday bazaars crop up at churches, schools and fire halls in Carroll County faster than leaves fall off the trees.

Almost as numerous as those leaves are the decorative crafts and home accessories that are a staple of every bazaar.

The success of these fund-raisers attests to their popularity. The people who make the crafts are mostly women, who are fixtures of the annual events of their church, fire department or other organization.

A good example is Aubrey Davis, who has chaired her Sykesville church's cathedral quilt raffle for 20 years. Davis and her group start working in January on the cathedral quilt for St. Barnabas' Episcopal Church's annual holiday Country Fair in November.

"I get 30 yards of muslin, wash, dry and measure it, cut it into squares, then make up 22 kits of muslin and rectangles of other material for the patches," she said. "I have 14 people helping me this year -- that's more than usual."

Her helpers make the kits into strips, then Davis sews them together by hand. The cathedral quilt, actually a thin coverlet, is so called because the patches in the middle of the squares resemble stained glass windows.

"We sell 1,200 or more tickets -- church members sell them, and people buy them at the bazaar," she said. "We make about $1,100 a year on the raffle."

Julia Ford spends autumn weekends making crafts for St. John's Roman Catholic Church's annual Christmas bazaar.

Ford, who does St. John's craft table for its bazaar, "got roped into it eight or nine years ago." She and her husband, James, already handled the Santa Claus photos.

"They couldn't get anybody to do the craft table for a couple of years, so I got it," Ford said. "I usually start a couple of weekends before, working steady and one weeknight -- and my children and grandchildren help me."

She's been later than usual starting her crafts this year because of two heart operations, but, with leftovers from last year, shoppers will still find plenty of selection at next month's event.

Her crafts include decorated clear plastic Christmas tree ornaments, Popsicle stick picture frames, decorative pine cones, ceramic angels and lighted trees, embroidery hoop scenes and battery-operated tin-can snowmen.

"I donate everything," she said. "The ceramic angels and tree ornaments really go."

From creating dolls out of Mrs. Butterworth syrup bottles for Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church's annual Christmas bazaar, Myra Hopkins started a very successful home-based mail-order business.

In the past 11 years, 600 of her dolls have raised $11,000 for the Eldersburg church. Some people have collections of the dolls, all signed and dated.

"I started with the Three Wise Men. I made three sets and sold them. Then a lady said she wanted a shepherd; then I started making Santas," Hopkins recalled.

The dolls are elaborate, with mink trimmings (from old coats people give her) and scraps of materials and accessories.

The faces are painted to resemble porcelain and feature realistic coiffures. Requests for other figures led Hopkins to create graduation dolls, pilgrims, George and Martha Washington, Dickens-style singers and a bridal party.

Then there's Bea Study, who creates dainty, colorful crafts for Ebenezer United Methodist Church's Holly Mart in Winfield. For 23 years, she has been creating needlepoint houses, humorous crafts such as pork and beans in a jar (a cloth pig face sitting atop beans), wall hangings, cloth Christmas trees, corsages and ceramics.

At North Carroll Senior Center, a group of women under the direction of Bessie Love creates crocheted hats and scarves, wall decorations, cross-stitch coasters, magazine candleholders, ceramics, brooms, crocheted dolls and turtle basket holders. The center has a two-day craft sale in October, but Love said they have crafts available year round.

Dollie Barnhart and her daughter Judy Conaway have sold goods at Reese & Community Volunteer Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary's annual fall and holiday craft show in October for at least 14 years. They offer crocheted tree ornaments, painted light bulbs, clay block figurines, painted crab shells, earrings and pins, and doilies.

In a stall next to the mother-daughter team was 88-year-old Elsie Jenkins, who, despite failing eyesight and arthritis, offered a table full of handmade doilies and runners in a variety of styles, colors and sizes, plus some colorful yarn cats.

"My mother started teaching me how to crochet when I was 5 years old," Jenkins said. "It just got to be a hobby."

Pub Date: 11/06/98

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