BONNERS FERRY — The Boundary County Celebration of Craft took place at the Boundary County Fairgrounds on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, and was organized and put on by the VFW Post 3622 and the American Legion Post 55.
Vendors and shoppers gathered at the annual craft fair, buying items and exchanging ideas and conversation. The variety of craft related items for sale offered something for everyone, from jewelry to hats, paintings to pottery, and even a basket of Pombles.
There were stories behind the handcrafted items. For Gini Woodward, her story centered around a basket of round, soft balls, all unique and colorful. She calls them Pombles.
“I make these out of yarn that is left from other projects. It is a way for me to use and recycle yarn,” said Woodward. “A Pomble is a cute, cuddly companion which has some sort of sentimental value. They start out as a pompom and I put them in the washer and the dryer so that they shrink.”
“Every time I make them, it is a surprise how they are going to come out,” she continued. “I used to worry a lot about making them all perfectly even, until I discovered that if you let them be uneven, then they take on their own personalities.”
According to Woodward, Pombles can be used as a cuddly pet, a stress ball, or a plaything for cats or dogs. She had other knitted items for sale, including her popular dishcloths.
“I do a lot of products that I do on the knitting machine, which was my career before I retired,” said Woodward. “It is just fun.”
The craft fair is a great way for the vendors to socialize as well. Many of them travel to other fairs together.
”I have long time friends that also come to this craft show,” said Woodward. “It is just fun every year.”
Woodward explained how the wife of one of the vendors had taken a liking to one of the sweaters she had for sale. She took the sweater to her husband, Weezil Samter, encouraging him to buy it for her for Christmas.
“She came back with a chainmail bikini bra and she said that he wants to know if you will barter,” said Woodward with a laugh. “And so I had to try it on! It creates a lot of entertainment within the show.”
Not all booths were selling items. BoCo Backpacks brought an array of Christmas ornaments that were created by Naples, Mt. Hall and Valley View fifth graders. They were available for a suggested donation. By the end of the second day, they had only found homes for about 50 ornaments, but they had received many donations.
“We have had a large influx of donations,” said Boco Backpack volunteer and committee member Shirley Anderson. “We have had a tremendous amount of people putting donations into our donation jar, as well as just dropping off checks and leaving money here for the program. So we have had a really good weekend.”
Boundary County Library brought machines and examples from their Fab Lab to their table, including their 3D printer.
“We are showing off all of the things that we have at the library,” said Derrick Grow. “We have all of the neat little things that have been made by people at our library. It is amazing the things that happen at our library.”
The craft fair gave the library a great venue to showcase what is available through their Fab Lab.
“We love it because a lot of the people here are crafters and creators, and that is what we are hoping to inspire. In fact, our motto is Create a Culture of Opportunity,” explained Grow. “We just want to show people what is free and available at their local library.”
For vendors and shoppers alike, the craft fair was a success, with happy people leaving with bags full of goodies, and vendors leaving with far less than they arrived with.
“It was really good,” said Maxien Marcy of Mudslinger Pottery. “I am honored that people came in and looked for my pottery, and I am hoping that everyone has a Merry Christmas.”