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Our First Craft Fair

Back in November Becky and I attended our first craft fair. It was in support of the United Way so table rental fees and a donated raffle item went to charity.

Becky and I have been making earrings for about 2 years now. This started when I decided to make 3 pairs as part of Becky’s Christmas gift two years ago. One of the pairs was made from a large crystal which a family friend bequeathed to us when he lost his battle with cancer. I was able to remove two pieces small enough to create a pair of earrings for her to remember him.

Here is the full crystal….

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And it got turned into this…

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Since that time we have made and sold many pairs of earrings. During the craft fair one lovely woman who bought a pair of earrings was actually sending them to a relative in Germany. How cool!

In addition to earrings, we have also been making handcrafted soap and an amazing natural lip balm which we have been using, and decided to sell them as well. Being our first craft sale we didn’t know how people would respond to our handmade items. As it turned out the soap and lip balm disappeared very quickly with additional orders coming in after the fair. The earrings did well too, but we wish we had made more soap!

Here is what our table looked like…

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It’s interesting how things unfold. A Christmas gift of handcrafted earrings turns into selling them. The soap making also started as a gift. Last Christmas I bought Becky all the needed items to start making soap. I planned the sequence of the individual items she opened to maximize her confusion. Seemingly random items which had nothing to do with one another were slowly unwrapped. One item, which didn’t quite fit under our “stocking stuffers only” gift exchange rules, was a wooden soap mold which I made for her. It was added to the pile of strange items laid out before her until finally she unwrapped the instructions and it all made sense.

We always have lots of laughs on Christmas morning, which is the way Christmas should always begin, filled with laughter, smiles, kisses and hugs. This most recent Christmas we decided not to exchange gifts at all, and we still had a great morning filled with those same things.

That’s the long version of how we ended up making those particular items. That’s the way life is sometimes. It turns and twists, and before you know it you are at a craft fair selling things that you enjoy making and using yourself. We sure make one hell of a team!

Happy Homesteading!

Stan (and Becky)

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Oh how I love the scent of a fake Christmas tree!

Many years ago Becky and I bought our first Christmas tree. It was a good quality artificial tree which we have used up until last year. In the box, which we dragged home on public transit, was a natural pine oil scent kit and about a dozen real pinecones to put the oil on.

In our excitement (….and lack of any experience with scented oils) we used the entire bottle of oil. It was a tiny bottle! You can probably guess what happened next. Overwhelmed by the smell of pine, with tears actually in our eyes, we realized that the tiny bottle was probably a 10 year supply! We quickly collected the pinecones and put them in the trash. Not before they probably dripped all over the tree in the process.

It was a ‘fresh’ December day so we opened all the windows and put our jackets on to air out the room. It eventually became bearable again. At least our eyes didn’t sting too much anymore.

So that is the history of our existing tree. Every year for probably the past 10 years we have discussed buying a real tree, but in the end decide to stick with our fake. Until this year. Finally we got a real one!

Once we brought it inside I felt like it should be decorated very simply. Some white lights and Becky and I were inspired to string some popcorn for a garland. That’s it so far. Not sure if we should add any more to it.

Here’s what it looks like so far. The best part of having a real tree in the house…..the natural pine scent!! 🙂

So what do you have? Artificial or a real tree?

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All We Want For Christmas is…

Becky and I have a very short wish list for Christmas. It only had two items. We have both found ourselves in recent years not wanting more “stuff” in our lives.

For years now Becky has had a rule, and it goes something like this… “If we bring something new in the house, something has to leave the house.” Huh? But I don’t want anything to leave the house. I am by no means a packrat, but that seemed a little harsh. But catch me on the right day and you can get rid of whatever you want because we probably don’t need it. I tend to gravitate more towards the rule of – if you haven’t touched it in six months you can safely get rid of it. I’m sure Becky might say otherwise but in my mind I like to believe that that’s my way of thinking.

We decided this year to not exchange gifts, even with each other. Yes it’s fun to open things up on Christmas morning, but we’ve decided that we have enough in our lives right now that we don’t need more.

However, we do have two things on our Christmas wish list. To further our homesteading skills and abilities we have our eye on an Excalibur Dehydrator and an All American Pressure Canner. We’ve discovered after jarring several different food items that these two devices would serve us very well and enable us to expand what we preserve.

So here goes our shameless pitch to Santa….We’ve both been really, really, really good this year and are surely on the ‘nice’ list.
P.S. – We will even get rid of two items from the house once these arrive!

We hope you are all enjoying the wonders of the holidays.

Stan and Becky

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