Sunday, December 6, 2015

Markets and Dinosaurs: Getting Into the Holiday Spirit

I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room. --Ray Bradbury
I like snow. A lot of people hate it, and, growing up in Winnipeg and then living in Alberta for six years, I totally get that. I'm not a fan of the cold air hurting my face, but I do miss the snow. People who grew up here on Vancouver Island often look at me like I've got two heads when I say that I miss snow. I'm entitled to my own likes and dislikes, and I'm learning to pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room when people criticize me for it, as Ray Bradbury says.

I'm having a hard time believing that it's nearly Christmas, due to the lack of snow on Vancouver Island. I'm actually ok with not having snow here, because I find that, when it does snow here, it's that wet, sticky snow that turns into treacherous icy conditions that make me want to stay off the roads and hide at home under blankets until it's all over. But, as a prairie girl, I'm used to the arrival of snow to trigger my holiday spirit.

So, to try to trigger it for myself, I've been trying to stop in at Christmas markets whenever I hear about them. There has been one going on for the last couple of weekends at a place near here called The Community Farm Store. The market is called Drift: A Winter Artisan Market, and I was especially interested because all of the vendors there were indeed artisans, selling their handmade wares. For me, a market is not a market if there are no artisans there.

This week, I entered a draw on the Facebook event page for this market and was lucky enough to win this lovely hand sewn pouch by a vendor called Drift and Nest:

Draws like these are such great ideas because 1) people will spread the news about the event and 2) if you win, you have to go to the event to get it. And well, twist my rubber arm and tell me I have to go to a market, why don't you. 

While I was there, I met Elissa, the artisan behind Drift and Nest and got chatting with her. I found out she'd only learned to sew a few months ago, which totally blew me away. Learning to sew, then learning to set zippers, and then making pouches and pillows and cushions for sale to the public, all in a few months? I was so, so impressed. Her fabric right now comes from  South America and Mexicoall over the world, brought back to her by her family from their travels.

I bought this pouch as well, both because I wanted to support her, and also because I'm also a closet stationery addict who is always on the hunt for the perfect pencil case. It's difficult to be a stationery addict in a world that pressures me to do everything on my smart phone, but again, I'm quite ok with packing up my dinos for that argument and enjoying my pencil case instead:

And, anyone who bought a pouch, got a free ornament as well:

While I was there, I strolled around and met and chatted with the other vendors. It was there that I met Lawrence of Wood Bee Designs, who makes items out of vintage postage stamps. He knew I was from Winnipeg when I stopped and smiled at this Portage and Main stamp. "Sometimes, when I make things, I know it's for one specific person out there." And it turned out to be me:

I got a few other things that I can't share here because they're gifts for people, but I feel happy that I got a chance to go and support some artisans and get a little festive spirit going:

In the meantime, I'm still working on my Svalbard. I'm loving this sweater, but I'm still nervous about it. I completely disregarded the instructions to knit the swingy fronts and am making a more traditional cardigan, but I'm feeling a little wary that this blatant disregard of the rules is somehow going to come back to haunt me. Maybe I shouldn't have packed up the dinos on this one...

I'm still unsure of the sizing. I want to call it the Incredible Illusion Sweater, because when it's lying flat, it looks incredibly small due to the way all the ribbing pulls the fabric inward. People ask me who it's for, and I tell them it's for me, they look at it, and then look back at me, and put on that sympathetic "oooh, she's crazy" look, and nod. I have to keep stopping and measuring and trying it on, because even I'm not so sure that it's right:

This is the back. You can see that there are variations of ribbing there as well, and when I try it on, it looks amazing, honestly it does.

I think what I love most about it is that it's completely the opposite of what I've been finding in the stores this season. Every time I wander into the shops, all I see are racks upon racks of grey, white, or black sweaters, mostly oversized, mostly boxy in shape, and mostly acrylic. And they're pretty, and yeah, I bought one, but I feel like it's a uniform right now that I'm a bit tired of seeing.

So, a pink fitted sweater for me. And if I stick out like a sore thumb, well so be it. I will be a lady in a pink sweater with a special love for snow and artisan markets and pencil cases. If anyone needs me, I'll be over here with my Happy Meal playing with my dinos...


Unknown said...

Every now and then, I read a post of yours and think, "Are we long-lost sisters, or something?" I'm going to have to use that Bradbury quote. I get a lot of funny looks for my refusal to do everything on my phone.

Also, snow. If it weren't for the semester ending, I wouldn't even know it's December - not only is there no snow, but it's been in the 50s and low 60s.

Lovely finds, and that sweater's gonna rock.

AdrieneJ said...

I think there are a lot of us out there who play with string that feel the same way about this kind of stuff. We're a special kind of people. :)

thecrazysheeplady said...


AdrieneJ said...

I'd been hanging onto it for a long time. I'm glad I finally got to share it.