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Handcrafted Treasures Abound at Senior Center Holiday Craft Fair

Handcrafted Treasures Abound at Senior Center Holiday Craft Fair

“These are beautiful, unique serving plates,” says Michele Meier from Santa Clara, holding one of Debbi O’Donnell’s clear glass plates with Christmas fabric decoupaged to the underside, which was then glazed.

“Last year I bought a Christmas plate for my sister. This year I’m buying one for myself for a cookie exchange we do every year.”


“I like looking at the jewelry,” says Meier’s daughter, Bella, 10, who also had her eye on a hand-knit hat.

The Santa Clara Senior Center’s Seventh Annual Holiday Craft Fair November 16 featured about 35 crafters selling both traditional and unique handcrafted items.

“The craft fair brings great local talent to our center and provides our regular program participants an opportunity to get a little holiday shopping done early,” says Jessica Carter, senior center coordinator.

“Also, the show benefits our center by bringing in people not necessarily familiar with the services we offer,” adds Carter.

“I’ve been doing this show since the beginning,” says O’Donnell. “The people who come are friendly, and the show is well organized.”

“This is my only show—it doesn’t take too much time. It’s not a business. I do it for fun,” says Pat Alves, the only craftsperson wearing red antlers. Alves makes fabric placemats, runners, center pieces, and Giants and 49ers sports bags.

Donna Orme does print making and mixed media collages by day and crochets afghans and potholders by night, using random designs she makes up as she stitches.

“After a few rows, I’m ready to do something new!” she says.

Pam Simonsson, a first-time craft show participant, offered shoppers her photos of outdoor scenes printed on metal.

“A show gives exposure for the artist, and if you can connect people with items, they’ll buy them. It brings out friends and other shoppers.” she says.

Retired Wilcox High School art teacher Debbie Tietgens now has time to make jewelry and is passing the skill on to her granddaughters Bella, 4, and Abbey, 6, who were seated with her working on their own creations.

“Making jewelry keeps her out of trouble,” says Tietgens’s daughter, Allyson Jones.

“I like that the show is local, and it’s a reasonable entry fee—$25,” says Tietgens.

Senior Center wood shop regulars Don Sutton, Van Langston, and Ty Rockhold sold creative wood toys to raise funds for shop supplies. If you missed the holiday show, drop by the wood shop any Tuesday or Thursday morning between 8 a.m. and noon year round to purchase toys on hand or place an order.

“I enjoy seeing the crafters. I come with the idea of getting reasonably-priced but quality gift items,” says Toni Nobriga, one of the lucky few afternoon shoppers who found their way to the senior center and its abundance of holiday treasures.


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