Woodlanders Prepare for Bazaars

Woodlanders Prepare for Bazaars
by Pat Nelson

It’s bazaar season. Hand-crafted ornaments hang from trees, luring buyers. Tables are filled with baked goods, home décor, jewelry, holiday decorations and everything imaginable. Vendorsstand behind tables, smiles on their faces, change in their pockets and a large supply of plastic bags ready for purchasers. These vendors hope their hard work has not been in vain. Customers show up at bazaars looking forward to enjoying a home-baked treat with friends while filling their gift lists. They seldom give a thought to the months of work these talented vendors have done to get ready for the show.
Nancy Johnson and Sarah Bickler, both Woodlanders, are among the many vendors that spend countless hours getting ready for the bazaar season.
Decorator potholders have been Nancy Johnson’s specialty for the past 18 years. Her bazaar business is called Nancy’s Potholders, even though she also sells placemats, doll quilts and table runners. Nancy started sewing with a friend at age 12, making doll clothes from scraps of fabric. Her aunts and her mother taught her to sew. She has sold her crafts at many bazaars over the years, and now mainly sells at the Snowflake Bazaar in Woodland and the Hometown Celebration in Ridgefield. This year’s Snowflake Bazaar will be held Saturday, November 23 at the Woodland Primary School gymnasium, 600 Bozarth, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
I’ve bought many of Nancy’s potholders, both for myself and for gifts . Sometimes I include one along with a greeting card or when I’m looking for a larger gift, I might purchase several to tie in with a friend’s kitchen theme. Nancy has dozens of styles, so the only hard part is narrowing down the choices.
Sarah Bickler makes wooden-sign décor. You can find Sarah throughout the year at area farmers’ markets, fairs, bazaars and festivals, and this year she is even operating a seasonal store at Vancouver’s Westfield Mall. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, Sarah will show her signs at the Expo Center in Portland, touted as America’s Largest Christmas Bazaar. The event runs two weekends, November 29-December 1 and December 6-8. The Expo bazaar holds a mix of handcrafted and commercial items, and Sarah’s signs are created right here in Woodland. Sarah and her crew cut the boards to size, sand them, and then give each a coat of paint. . . by hand. Sarah then stencils a humorous or inspirational message onto each signboard. Once the paint has dried, a coat of wax is applied and a hanger is affixed to the back of each sign. Then they are ready for sale.
I met Sarah a few months ago when I was getting ready to display my book at Portland’s Northwest Book Festival. I needed something to set my booth apart from other booksellers’ booths. Sarah’s signs were just what I was looking for. I displayed a variety of signs, including many designed especially for readers and writers, and they were a hit with customers.
This holiday season, enjoy shopping the bazaars and find some treasures made here at home through the hard work of your friends and neighbors.

Pat Nelson’s Bio:
Pat Nelson, writer and editor, is co-creator of three humorous and sometimes edgy anthologies: “Not Your Mother’s Book: On Being a Parent (available at www.Amazon.comand wherever books are sold); On Being a Grandparent; and On Working for a Living (both still accepting stories at www.PublishingSyndicate.com). Nelson blogs at www.Storystorm.USand her stories appear at www.LewisRiver.com.