Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Where's the Craft?

Growing up, one of my favorite parts of fall are the local craft fairs.  I haven't been able to go to them as much the past few years, but this past weekend I did make it to the one in West Islip, the town I went to high school in.

Being temporarily without a car, my brother dropped me off around the corner and I walked over.  At about 11am, traffic was already crazy outside the library and cops were directing traffic and helping people cross the busy streets.

Apparently the rest of my family was coming later on so I walked the entire fair in about a half hour, not making any stops.  I just wanted to get an idea of what and who were there, as well as what the quality of the items for sale.

Unfortunately as of late, our craft fairs in the area have been going downhill.  I've noticed more commercial products up for sale while the number of actual handmade goods decreasing.  I've even seen the cheap crap my former boss would buy in Chinatown in the city to sell at our card store showing up at booths.

There were several quality booths though!  And I figured I'd give them all a shoutout here.

My first purchase was a T shirt for my stepfather's birthday gift.  He's a big fisherman and when I saw this during my first lap around, I knew I had to buy one for him.

For those who don't know (probably everyone for that matter), Long Island is shaped like a fish, hence the theme of the T shirts.  The tail of the Mako on the shirt is actually what the east end of Long Island looks like.

View Larger Map

You can find these shirts at fishtheisland.com.

My next stop was 4 Daughters Creations.  One of my goals for the day was to find jewelry to wear to Kyle's best friend's wedding in 2 weeks.  Unfortunately, this booth did not have what I was looking for.  But their stuff was amazing and they were super sweet.  They tried to find something for me and even offered to do custom work.  I took their card because there were some pieces I really wanted but just don't have the money for right now.

My next purchase was ...well I'm really not sure.  At first glance I thought it was a jam stand but they really had a lot more.  I don't know if you would categorize what I got as "jam" but it's called Apple Butter.  It's like mushy apple pie.  I tasted it and didn't need any more encouragement to buy.  It was really good.  Like amazingly good.  Kyle was skeptical when I told him about it but one smell of the jar and he changed his mind.

Even better?  The woman who makes this has a son who was severely injured at the age of 4 and now is confined to a wheel chair.  No, that's not the better part.  All of the money from the sales goes to support him.  It's called Jars 4 Justin but the website seems to have disappeared.

Up next, I purchased some essential oils.  Mainly I wanted lavender to spritz on my yarn to keep the moths away.  But I also found a mixture of oils that is supposed to keep bugs away (think summertime bug spray all natural style) and also an oil in a scent for someone else.  Birthday and Christmas are coming!

These oils come from Pam's Common Scents.

After my whole day of searching for a statement necklace, I finally found one at one of the last aisles of the fair.  Pinache is a collection of pins and necklace pendants created by a retired art teacher.  While they look like heavy metal pieces, the base of each piece is actually a lightweight ceramic painted with several metallic shades to look like metal.  The accessories then placed on this ceramic base are various finds from estate sales and old costume jewelry.  I love the craft of it!  Arlene even had a sign on her booth that said something along the lines of "Be Unique!  Buy Handmade!"  Gotta love that.

A couple years ago I purchased a couple products from Panthyr Moon and was glad to see she was still in business.  This year I purchased some soap from her booth.  Jennifer is super sweet and enthusiastic about her products.  This soap is the spiced apple scent.  I'll be using it just after Halloween (I have some Candy Corn soap waiting to be used for October).

My last stop was a booth I passed by a bunch of times throughout the day and didn't really consider stopping at.  It was small, with only 1 table and the product was soap.  After my third lap through the fair (this time was with my late arriving aunt and cousin), I stopped by since I had nothing else to do while waiting for my aunt to finish her browsing.  I love buying fancy soaps so I figured I'd grab another one.  Of course I have to smell them all first though.  I made the mistake of smelling a couple that had a mint scent to them (Chocolate Mint, Spearmint Eucalyptus and there was another one- either way...I hate mint, they were so not for me but you'd like them if you like mint).  I decided on Lavender Oatmeal (notice that I love lavender??) and also bought an Orange Creamsicle for a friend.

I'm very excited about this soap, but it's pretty like I won't be using it until December or so.  I actually took a butcher knife and cut it in half because the bar is so large.

I had a surprise though.  Bilal, the soap master, recognized me!  Apparently we graduated high school together but never actually knew each other.  I felt really bad because usually I recognize everyone and no one ever remembers me.  But he was super nice!  And apparently Fire Island Soap Co has free shipping to anywhere in the US.  That's a pretty awesome deal if you ask me.  I'm pretty sure I'll be saying goodbye to Dove and buying my soap from these guys from now on.

I'm all about the buying local and handmade so feel free to share with me some of the placed you like to buy from as well!

PS- Yes, I saw knitting and crochet there.  Yes, it was mostly squeaky acrylic garbage.  I hate to say that about something someone spent time handmaking but isn't something you're going to put that time and effort into worth better quality materials?  I think so.  But there was a lady near the petting zoo showing off 2 spinning wheels.  Except both times I walked by she was eating.  It was a gross humid muggy day out so I don't blame her for not wanting wool all over her.

1 comment:

  1. OMG! Apple butter!!! That's all I used to eat when I was a kid. Everyone else was eating peanut butter and grape jelly, but I was the weird one who insisted on peanut butter and apple butter. I especially liked them in my lunches at school because by then they were a little warm and there was always that "peanut butter sandwich in a plastic sandwich bag" smell. Ah, memories. :)



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