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A cornucopia of handcrafted delights


Good Shepherd Community Church is among many groups and organizations hosting harvest bazaars this season

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Alexis Culps tooth fairy dolls have handmade dresses and tooth pockets. The dolls take up to 20 hours to make.

Santa’s elves have been busy the past few months, painting, pressing and purling to produce an amazing array of handcrafted holiday gift ideas. From fresh green wreaths and fragrant soaps to tasty baked goods and jewelry, it won’t be hard to find something for everyone on your shopping list.

So while the calendar may say it’s the Season of the Witch, the real “witch” is simply which craft sale to attend.

One of the longest-running harvest bazaars kicks off Thursday, Nov. 15, for its three-day stint at Good Shepherd Community Church in Boring. This will be the 27th year artisans and church members have set up shop in the church, offering a variety of homespun gift and décor items.

“Everything is completely handmade from scratch,” said Heather Wendler, who has chaired the event the past three years. “We have vendors from out of state who return every year just for this bazaar, so it’s a wonderful assortment of things.”

Initially a small church fundraiser, Good Shepherd’s Harvest Moon Bazaar has grown to encompass more than 70 artisans. Interested vendors go through a juried selection process, Wendler said, to ensure the craftsmanship and quality of the bazaar. And while the committee generally sees between 120 and 140 applications annually, the selection process yielded some unexpected results this year.

“It’s hard because we can only take 76 vendors due to our space,” Wendler said. “But this year, for the first time in a long time, we have 30 new vendors who are bringing in some amazing things like felted hats, glass work and fiber arts.”

One unique feature of Good Shepherd’s bazaar is the Junior Crafter’s Corner. Students from the church’s school showcase their crafting talents, with several making repeat appearances.

Eleven-year old Savannah Springer and classmate Megan Jefferis, also 11, fashion silk flower hair adornments and decorative magnets. This will be their third year manning a booth at the bazaar, and past successes have seen the pair garner anywhere from $80 to $100 each. Thirteen-year old Jasmine Teeny is returning for her second year at the bazaar, with an assortment of necklaces, ornaments and hand-loomed hats.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Eleven-year olds Savannah Springer, left, and Megan Jefferis, center, make silk flower hair adornments and decorative magnets, while Jasmine Teeny, right, makes necklaces, ornaments and hand loomed hats.

But what will endear shoppers to the junior artists are their plans for their earnings.

While Megan’s funds are going toward Outdoor School expenses and a mission trip, Jasmine is aiming to help pay for a week in Washington, D.C., with her class later this school year. Savannah will add to her savings account, but she’s also planning to uphold a personal tradition of purchasing Christmas gifts for the four Honduran girls her family sponsors.

Church member Holly Dumitrescu shies away from saying she’s part of the recycling/upcycling movement with the wooden signs she and three friends make. The group uses blemished or improperly finished cabinet doors and barn wood to create decorative signs with inspirational verses and country chic sayings.

“I found them when we were building our house and looking at cabinets,” Dumitrescu said. “I wandered into the back area and saw all these doors that couldn’t be used. I thought, ‘I could do something with those.’ Now, five years later, I have quite the stockpile.”

Dumitrescu paints, distresses and embellishes her signs with a variety of die-cut or freehand lettering. They range from simple sampler-type designs to fishing or nautical-themed décor items.

If there’s a child in your life who will be asking Santa for front teeth this year, check out Alexis Culp’s Tooth Fairy Dolls. The 8-inch soft-sculpture babies are works of art, with curly hair, a handmade dress and tooth pocket, all inspired by Culp’s children.

“My oldest daughter was really slow to lose teeth,” she said. “When she got close to losing her first tooth, I thought I needed to find a tooth fairy pillow. Instead, I made her a doll.”

Culp’s Tooth Fairy Dolls join a nursery of bigger sisters, which are similar to the European Waldorf Dolls. Culp was captivated by the exclusive line of babies while traveling years ago but deterred by the $300 price tag. She located a pattern, followed an online tutorial and began to make her own version for family and friends.

Completely hand sewn, Culp’s dolls can take up to 20 hours to create. They range in price from $40 to $120, depending on size.

Good Shepherd’s Harvest Moon Bazaar runs Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 15-17. Food will be available, as will a quilt raffle to benefit the Sandy Historical Society.