Karleen Kennedy, left, looks over a booth with Kaytlin Herring, 10, center, and Katie Kennedy, 12, during the holiday craft show Saturday at the Centennial Mall. Many Craig residents sifted through local wares to find holiday gifts for friends and family. Centennial Mall will host another event on Dec. 11 and 12.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Karleen Kennedy, left, looks over a booth with Kaytlin Herring, 10, center, and Katie Kennedy, 12, during the holiday craft show Saturday at the Centennial Mall. Many Craig residents sifted through local wares to find holiday gifts for friends and family. Centennial Mall will host another event on Dec. 11 and 12.

Local crafters show off wares at annual holiday fair

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If you go

What: 2009 Winter Craft Show

Where: Centennial Mall,

1111 W. Victory Way

When: Noon to 7 p.m. Dec. 11, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 12

For more information and a map

of vendors in the mall, visit http://

<p>centennialmall.com or call 824-7011.

photo

Laura Houston, right, and her daughter, Shoshannah, 11, look at wooden trains and trucks Saturday at a booth during the holiday craft show at the Centennial Mall. Vic Thurston, of Granby, who worked the booth with his wife, Faye, made the wooden toys in his shop at home.

In the crowded corridors Saturday at the Centennial Mall, a sweet, piney scent of the holiday gift-giving season permeated the air.

Wooden toy trains captivated children, while handcrafted jewelry glinted in the corners of their mothers’ eyes.

Among Santa Claus toys, soy candles, and locally harvested honey, the perfect gift for anyone could be found.

At the 2009 Holiday Craft Show, 80 vendors of art, crafts, trinkets and gifts were squeezed into the mall hallways, offering samples, specials and smiles to the local crowd.

But there was more to each of the vendors than what a passing glance at a craft show booth might suggest.

There always was a story of necessity, whether it was to create or express through art, or simply to have something to do with idle hands.

Kitty Webster, of Craig, said she’s not an artistic person.

But, her booth filled with baskets, lampshades and picture frames made of old lasso ropes suggested otherwise.

“My brother and my nephew roped, so I always had the ropes laying around,” she said. “I started making Christmas presents and it just went from there.”

The more worn the rope is, the softer and easier it becomes to manipulate.

She doesn’t use dye, but her creations come in a variety of soft blues, greens and grays.

The life of the rope, like what elements it was exposed to and how it was wrapped around the saddle horn, dictates what color it will be.

She solders the ropes together into any shape she can imagine.

“It’s addictive,” she said. “There are always new shapes you want to try. And they’re all functional. I have several in my kitchen.”

Britany Nielsen’s creations, called “Brit’s Bowdacious Bows,” also sprouted from necessity.

“I have two little girls, and I just could not find bows anywhere,” Nielsen said. “I saw a void, and then I heard about the craft fairs.”

She said she was successful at Saturday’s event, which was her second craft show.

Her pink booth display was adorned with her creations: Flowers, bows, ribbons and buttons glued onto hair clips for girls of all ages.

When she found her youngest daughter didn’t have enough hair to support one of the bows, she made her headbands to clip the bows to.

“They’re fun,” she said. “They can dress anything up.”

For Vicki Hall, Centennial Mall property manager, the craft show has become a tight-knit, friendly event in the crafting community.

The demand for booths was so high that Hall added a second craft show, which will take place Dec. 11 and 12.

She said the most important reason the craft show is successful is the variety it offers.

“It’s important to have something different,” she said. “And people really like to support people who make handcrafted things. The town really supports the craft show.”

She said the event offered valuable exposure to stores within the mall.

“It’s great for the stores in the mall,” she said. “It gives people a reason to come here and then they say, ‘Oh, I can buy that here.’”

Funds from booth rentals go to the mall store association to help pay for holiday events and decorations throughout winter.

But most important, she said, the craft show brings a community of artists together.

“We’ve been doing this so long,” Hall said. “I’ve seen people go through so much. I know people who have lost husbands and wives. There are a lot of people from out of town, but they just say they have to come back. It’s so important to keep coming.”

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