Upholding a tradition of quality crafts


October 21, 2002|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MAYBE IT'S THE Queen Elizabeth Cake, or Helen Shriver's famous peanut brittle. Perhaps it's the Angel Corner, where children make crafts for their family and friends while mom and dad shop, or the complimentary tea and door prizes.

After 29 years, Ascension Episcopal Church's Mistletoe Mart is a holiday tradition.

The juried craft event begins Nov. 7 and runs through Nov. 9 at the church, 23 N. Court St. in Westminster.

More than 50 artists, crafts- people and specialty shops will sell handcrafted gifts. Doors will open at 10 a.m. each day.

"After this many years, Mistletoe Mart has earned the reputation of having quality items," said Sandy White, publicity chairwoman for the event. "Each year, we welcome as many as 4,000 people who recognize that it's a great place to shop, relax and give to worthy charities."

Proceeds from Mistletoe Mart go toward church projects and designated community charities. In the past, beneficiaries have included Carroll County Family YMCA, Family and Children's Services, Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County and Mission of Mercy.

Organizers screen vendors each year, searching for the right blend of traditional favorites and new discoveries.

Shoppers can count on hand-sewn items such as doll clothes, cloth books, throws and pillows created by many church members, including Pat Shirley, Nancy McAllister and Shriver.

Stained glass, pottery, wreaths, wildlife carvings, handcrafted jewelry and sand cast antique butter molds also will be featured.

"I have been sewing children's teepees and putting together tom-toms for Mistletoe Mart throughout the year," said Phyllis Chezem of Gray Eagle Playthings and a first-time vendor. "I've been to the event as a shopper for years. I knew it was an honor to be invited to an event that always gets a great response from the public."

Chezem's teepees are available in a variety of themes - patriotic, sports, gardening, beach and Wild West - and cost $40 to $60. She also will offer hand-painted, stretched-leather tom-toms decorated with feathers for $5 to $8.

Shoppers can take a break in the Tea Room and enjoy complimentary tea "served from the elegant silver service that most of us associate with our grandmothers," White said. "And anyone who gets hungry can buy homemade soups, sandwiches, lunch platters and desserts offered during Mistletoe Mart."

Admission to the 29th annual Mistletoe Mart is $3, $1 for younger than age 12.

Information or directions: 410-848-3251.

Searching for creativity

Carroll County Arts Council is seeking decorators for the fifth annual Festival of Wreaths, which runs Dec. 3 through Dec. 7.

Organizers are so eager to get entries that reach beyond people's wildest imaginations that Executive Director Sandy Oxx is pondering a new award.

She said she would call it the Nick Vincent Award, after Uniontown blacksmith Nick Vincent, who has created hand-forged works for the Festival of Wreaths that pulled in as much as $1,000 each.

"Nick made this incredible wreath one year, and then an amazing table last year," said Oxx. "He is always mysterious about his entries, and he is always so humble."

Vincent submitted his registration form for this year's festival and to describe his entry wrote, "It will be iron."

"I'm sure his entry will break the mold," said Oxx. "And we are hoping many of the entries break the mold. I'll have the Nick Vincent Award ready."

All registered decorators will be given a 24-inch artificial green wreath at no charge, unless they prefer to create an entry from scratch from other materials.

Decorators must register by Nov. 15, and completed wreaths are due to the arts council by Dec. 2.

The festival will be held at the Winchester Exchange Building in downtown Westminster, and the wreaths will be offered to the public through a weeklong silent auction.

Last year's event featured 150 wreaths and raised more than $12,000.

Guidelines and registration forms are available at the arts council, 15 E. Main St. in Westminster, or by calling 410-848- 7272.

Living Treasure

Union Bridge resident Becky Arnold honors her mother, Debbie Arnold, as her Living Treasure this week.

"My mom knows just the right way and the right time to show me that she is proud of me," said Becky Arnold, 19. "I'm not home as often, so I think this makes me realize how much I appreciate her and how much she appreciates me. The three best words to describe my mom are hard-working, funny and loyal."

Brighten the day of someone who has made a positive difference in your life.

Send in a name and specific reasons why someone has been your Living Treasure to: Lisa Breslin, 35 Ridge Road, Westminster 21157.

Lisa Breslin's Central Carroll neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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