Mahoosuc Mills is gearin’ up for our Down Home Holiday Festival. Used to be called the Down Home Christmas Festival, but we are now “politically correct.” The St. Hyacinth’s Christmas Bazaar is part of the Festival. I suppose we should change it to Holiday Bazaar, but hey, we’re Catholics! Who are we kidding?
The Festival is a lot of fun. All the stores are open and the town is decorated real cute. The Kiwanis sell trees in the vacant lot where Pomerleau’s store used to be. There’s a horse drawn sled for the kids out in Bucky DuMont’s field. And on Enchanted Mountain, the bunny slope with a rope tow at the edge of town, the Rotary club makes an ice slide, and there’s a toboggan race (helmets required). The Festival is always the second weekend of December, and people come from all over to experience our down home holiday fun.
The Women Who Run With the Moose, which is me and my friends, Celeste, Rita, Betty, Dot and Shirley, have a table down to St. Hyacinth’s where we sell crafts. It’s the second most popular booth at the Christmas Bazaar, if I do say so myself. The most popular is still the Blessed Bling Boutique. The deals in that booth are beyond belief!
Now, as you probably know, the Women Who Run With the Moose are big into crafts. We just love to get together and cut, paste and hot-glue. Then we put sequins on everything to cover up the boo-boos! We usually spend half the year trying out different ideas, see if anything flies. Once we hit upon one with potential, we focus on that for the last half of the year, in preparation for the Christmas Bazaar. We donate half the money from our craft booth to the Church, and use the other half as pin money for our road trips.
You wouldn’t believe some of the things we come up with. One year, everything on our craft table was made almost entirely out of shoulder pads we cut out of our dresses, shirts and sweaters. I kid you not! We made shoulder pad potholders, garlands, trivets, a mobile for over the baby's crib. Our best seller was the shoulder pad wreath. (Check out the photo.) Makes a handsome decoration for the front door come the holiday, non-denominational.
Most of the time we do pretty good. But every once and awhile, we get all jacked up about some great idea, and it turns out we’re the only ones who see the true brilliance of it. Like the year of the Hat Tree. Sad to say, this was my bright idea. I was inspired one night when Charlie and me were watchin’ a rerun of Perry Mason. Back then, every house had a hat tree, right? So I’m lookin’ at that hat tree, and suddenly it come to me, just like that, out of the blue: hat tree. Hat tree! When inspiration strikes, for better or worse, you gotta just go with it.
I could hardly wait to get down to the Ben Franklin Crafts. That’s where I found these little trees, about a foot tall, white with bare branches, already on their own stand. Then I could not believe my eyes when I saw these little doll hats that were pretty much the right size. Some things, I thought, were just meant to be!
So, I brought the stuff home and set to work fabricating a proto-type. I figured it was easier to show the girls than to explain my concept. I did all the detailing of the hats myself: paint, ribbons, sparkles, sequins. Then I used hot glue to attach the little hats to the tree branches. I sprayed everything with a fine dusting of snow, and voila! Hat tree! Oh God, it was adorable!
To be honest, I still had some convincing to do, but once the girls hopped on board, we set to work. We made some with a wintry theme, and then a bunch with purple trees and red hats. We were certain that Snowdell Holden and her Red Hat crew would snap those up ‘cause they’ll buy anything with a red hat on it!
We must have made about 40 of them hat trees. And how many did we sell at the Christmas Bazaar? Two! We ended up just giving them away, and even then, some people didn’t want ‘em. Oh, my God, did we laugh.
This year, I think we have a winner. Dottie come up with it: crocheted beer cozies. I know, it’s a great idea: fun, practical, and with a homemade touch. The kind of thing you don’t know you need until you see it, then you realize you can’t live without it.
So, if you happen to be in Mahoosuc Mills for our Down Home Holiday Festival, drop by and say hi. And remember, nothin’ says love like a crocheted beer cozy.
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
Give the gift of laughter! Bring Ida home for the holidays.
Coming up this week:
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8: BOOK READING & SIGNING
2 to 4 p.m.
7 Pond Street
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9: A HOLIDAY VISIT WITH IDA
To Benefit the Westbrook-Warren Congregational Church
Join Ida as she shares stories and reminiscences of Christmas time in Mahoosuc Mills, Maine. Followed by desserts and book signing.