Craft fair or be square

My mother-in-law always started her Christmas shopping in October and finished it before she bought her Thanksgiving turkey.

Over the years, the wisdom of that approach became obvious. Why battle traffic and crowded stores, not to mention snow and ice, in December?

That’s why the Great New England Craft Fair being held this weekend comes at a great time for those who want to get a head start on shopping and have fun, to boot.

There will be more than 160 craftspeople at the Hampshire Dome, displaying and selling their homemade pottery, candles, jewelry, quilts, paintings, baskets, leather goods, teas, home-roasted coffee, stained glass, fleece products, candles, recycled products, home accessories and more.

One of the crafters who’ll be here is Lorraine Brutti, of Burlington, Mass., who started creative sewing projects when her children were small, decades ago.

"It’s a hobby gone bad," she joked in a phone interview, because she is now on the road every weekend, going to big crafts fairs, including one at the World Trade Center in Boston.

Some of the items are hard to keep in stock, she said. Most popular, she said, is a pillow that opens into a quilt, and nearly as popular is a child’s sleep mat with handles that has a built-in pillow and attached fleece blanket, ideal, "for carrying to preschool or to Nannie," she said.

Jody Donohue, director of business development at Hampshire Hills, said the crafts fair grew out of the Holiday Shopping Extravaganza she organized for Hampshire Hills last December – a one-night event with 25 vendors, a lit fireplace, holiday decorations, drink specials and piano music that is returning this year on Wednesday, Dec. 7.

Hampshire Hills owner Rick Holder "told me to take it bigger, so I did," she said.

Donohue plans to do another crafts fair in the spring.

The fair will include food prepared by Hampshire Hills’ award-winning chef, and the $4 admission fee covers live entertainment, parking and a raffle entry.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.

Craft fair or be square

My mother-in-law always started her Christmas shopping in October and finished it before she bought her Thanksgiving turkey.

Over the years, the wisdom of that approach became obvious. Why battle traffic and crowded stores, not to mention snow and ice, in December?

That’s why the Great New England Craft Fair being held this weekend comes at a great time for those who want to get a head start on shopping and have fun, to boot.

There will be more than 160 craftspeople at the Hampshire Dome, displaying and selling their homemade pottery, candles, jewelry, quilts, paintings, baskets, leather goods, teas, home-roasted coffee, stained glass, fleece products, candles, recycled products, home accessories and more.

One of the crafters who’ll be here is Lorraine Brutti, of Burlington, Mass., who started creative sewing projects when her children were small, decades ago.

"It’s a hobby gone bad," she joked in a phone interview, because she is now on the road every weekend, going to big crafts fairs, including one at the World Trade Center in Boston.

Some of the items are hard to keep in stock, she said. Most popular, she said, is a pillow that opens into a quilt, and nearly as popular is a child’s sleep mat with handles that has a built-in pillow and attached fleece blanket, ideal, "for carrying to preschool or to Nannie," she said.

Jody Donohue, director of business development at Hampshire Hills, said the crafts fair grew out of the Holiday Shopping Extravaganza she organized for Hampshire Hills last December – a one-night event with 25 vendors, a lit fireplace, holiday decorations, drink specials and piano music that is returning this year on Wednesday, Dec. 7.

Hampshire Hills owner Rick Holder "told me to take it bigger, so I did," she said.

Donohue plans to do another crafts fair in the spring.

The fair will include food prepared by Hampshire Hills’ award-winning chef, and the $4 admission fee covers live entertainment, parking and a raffle entry.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.

Craft fair or be square

My mother-in-law always started her Christmas shopping in October and finished it before she bought her Thanksgiving turkey.

Over the years, the wisdom of that approach became obvious. Why battle traffic and crowded stores, not to mention snow and ice, in December?

That’s why the Great New England Craft Fair being held this weekend comes at a great time for those who want to get a head start on shopping and have fun, to boot.

There will be more than 160 craftspeople at the Hampshire Dome, displaying and selling their homemade pottery, candles, jewelry, quilts, paintings, baskets, leather goods, teas, home-roasted coffee, stained glass, fleece products, candles, recycled products, home accessories and more.

One of the crafters who’ll be here is Lorraine Brutti, of Burlington, Mass., who started creative sewing projects when her children were small, decades ago.

"It’s a hobby gone bad," she joked in a phone interview, because she is now on the road every weekend, going to big crafts fairs, including one at the World Trade Center in Boston.

Some of the items are hard to keep in stock, she said. Most popular, she said, is a pillow that opens into a quilt, and nearly as popular is a child’s sleep mat with handles that has a built-in pillow and attached fleece blanket, ideal, "for carrying to preschool or to Nannie," she said.

Jody Donohue, director of business development at Hampshire Hills, said the crafts fair grew out of the Holiday Shopping Extravaganza she organized for Hampshire Hills last December – a one-night event with 25 vendors, a lit fireplace, holiday decorations, drink specials and piano music that is returning this year on Wednesday, Dec. 7.

Hampshire Hills owner Rick Holder "told me to take it bigger, so I did," she said.

Donohue plans to do another crafts fair in the spring.

The fair will include food prepared by Hampshire Hills’ award-winning chef, and the $4 admission fee covers live entertainment, parking and a raffle entry.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.