Handmade gifts are sure to please even the hardest to buy for friend or relative

Santa’s elves have been busy the past few months, painting, polishing and purling to produce an amazing array of handcrafted holiday gift ideas. From fresh greenery and fragrant soaps to tasty baked goods and handmade wooden toys, 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.

The Boring-Damascus Grange has been hosting its Holiday Craft Sale for more than 30 years as a fundraiser for ongoing grange projects. More than 40 vendors will participate this year, filling two floors in the grange with an assortment of handcrafted items ranging from the practical to truly unique.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - The Boring-Damascus Grange Holiday Craft Sale  features more than 40 vendors, with handmade works in wood, polished stones, recycled materials more.

Gresham resident and grange member Dick Brooks took up woodworking after retiring from OMSI, where he ran the museum’s Outdoor Education Program for 21 years. Brooks uses Oregon myrtlewood to produce jewelry boxes in shapes that play off the wood’s grain. An S-shaped box makes an eye-catching table-top statement, with its graceful lines and containing two tiny felt-lined drawers begging to conceal even tinier treasures. Brooks also offers small wooden banks, with doors that are actually antique 1950s-era fronts from post office boxes.

A regular at the show the past seven-plus years, Brooks admits his earlier efforts weren’t quite as well planned or finely designed.

“I started (woodworking) several years before I started coming to the sale,” he said. “But I don’t want to talk about that. There were a lot of mistakes.”

Brooks’ handmade cribbage boards are nearly works of art. He uses Honduras rosewood, a dark red or purple-streaked hardwood from Central America, which is varnished to a high gloss and features playing pieces topped with colored glass gemstones. And Oregon Duck fans rejoice — Brooks also will have cribbage boards with Mallard Duck playing pieces.

Those with an eye for the unique and a devotion to recycling won’t be able to miss Buzi Nelson’s artistic conversation starters.

“Everything I do starts with used stuff,” Nelson said. “I shop at the Goodwill or garage sales, and I have rules about how I make things: I can’t put a hole in anything, I can break it to use the pieces, there’s no painting and it has to be usable. I had to limit myself, make it more of a challenge. That’s what sets my stuff apart.”

Nelson is inspired by everyday items. Her Space Saver Tree is a tower of square candle cups, inverted, stacked and glued together. Inside each tier are colorful glass Christmas tree ornaments, with a traditional gold star in the top space. Nelson names each piece, which are one-of-a-kind items since they are created with limited materials.

A Damascus resident, Nelson is the owner of Mountain View Realtors in Boring. She began developing her art work when the “real estate market became more of a challenge,” as an outlet for creative energy.

“My mind just kept running and running, and this was a way to focus,” she said. “Now, I can’t stop the ideas!”

In addition to the work by Nelson and Brooks, the Boring-Damascus Grange Holiday Craft Sale will feature knitted items, handmade greeting cards, Christmas ornaments and seasonal decorations. A snack bar will be open for those with the munchies, and don’t miss the candy and soup made by grange members.

Proceeds from the Holiday Craft Sale will help establish a window fund for the grange building, Nelson said. The facility was built in the 1930s and recently underwent an electrical upgrade, courtesy of a $30,000 gift from the Coca-Cola Co. The Boring-Damascus Grange is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year.

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