Sunday, October 17, 2010

The good, the bad, and the ugly

I’m not feeling cynical…..I guess I’m just feeling more like I need to be true to myself….maybe a bit more sarcastic than usual.

Yesterday, I left at the break of dawn with some of my besties to head down to Arkansas on our annual trek to the “War Eagle Craft Show”.

We always love driving by Beaver Lake and seeing the mist rise off of the lake… beautiful. 

We get to the show early, so we don’t have to wait in a super long line of traffic…..that part went well and we also got there early enough to beat the BIG crowds.  We always hit the bit tents first on one side of the bridge….I think this must be the juried crafters, because the things on this side of the bridge are nice.  Lots of handmade pottery, paintings, jewelry, etc.

The day started off cold…..40ish.  It was REALLY EARLY when I was getting ready and I changed purses and didn’t have any lipstick or chap stick so I did buy some great lavender lip balm from Clear Creek Lavender, and I must say it’s GREAT!  Very soothing and I just love the smell of lavender.

We also met Gretchen who makes BEAUTIFUL tightly braided wool rugs…..I so wish I would have gotten a picture of her rugs!  I did get her card, but the website that is listed on it doesn’t work….I’ll e-mail her and see what I can find out and maybe I can share her rugs with you on a future post.  I told her I would get her hooked up with some great wool suppliers like Rebecca Erb and Heavens to Betsy.

Next we headed “over the bridge” to the rest of the show…..

Okay, I think someone forgot to tell a lot of vendors over here (now don’t get me wrong….there are vendors on this side that have nice handmade items…..for example, Vicki Hardcastle has her tent on this side and she makes beautiful felted pins and hooked rugs and patterns) that this is a CRAFT show, not a CRAP show and that CRAFT means things that are handmade, not crap bought in China…..I’m sorry, but if I want to look at a  bunch of dime store shit, I’ll go to the dime store…..I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to go to the dime store!

I mean, seriously, who buys this stuff?  We did see a little innovation this year….these dime store towels actually had sunbonnets on the top, rather than the crochet! Yes, these are handmade, but REALLY?!

Even the dog was not impressed…

We headed on next to “Spanker Creek” in Bella Vista, Arkansas….this is the spot of our annual picture together. (by now I think it’s in the 80’s….we had shed our jackets and scarves and pushed up our sleeves)


We did buy some Arkansas Black apples here…..I ate my first one last night……tastes like a crisp apple cider….I’m hooked!

I can’t believe I’d never even heard of Arkansas Black apples until now!

Next we headed to our favorite spot….Abuelo’s, where some of us (yes, that would be me and Reba) had margaritas  (Renee was driving and Haylee is still too young)

and we all had chips and salsa and the best Mexican food….yummmmmmm.

I totally splurged and had “Enchiladas De Cozumel” which would be this:

three delicious crepes filled with fresh guacamole, covered in a rich white wine sauce with a medley of perfectly seasoned shrimps, scallops, mushrooms, fresh spinach and roasted peppers….this also came with refried beans and these wonderful mashed potatoes that had peppers and sour cream…… (that is what I call a “top button” meal… of those where you have to undo the top button of your pants when you’re done :)

What are your experiences going to craft shows in your area of the country…..are you seeing lots of crap or are you still seeing handmade items?

Honestly, the best part is  getting away and spending the day with your friends.


  1. Just don't even bother anymore...the only reason I would go to WarEagle is to see Vicki. Last spring the only handmade things I found at Spanker Creek were TyeDye T-shirts and candles. The rest was crap ( even some as seen on TV crap). And that is all I have seen at most of the craft shows I really enjoyed for years. There is another show in Bella Vista that is still supposed to be juried, but I have not been to that one for a long time. However, getting out on such a beautiful day with friends and having fun has lots of merit!

  2. Have noticed the same thing here. Our annual cornfest is getting more and more Made in China, although it's supposed to be a juried show. Very frustrating, but I go ever year just to be with my friends. The show I do in the Fall in East Berlin, Pa called Colonial Days is more strict at what is being sold. The whole atmosphere is different and I love it. Definitely loads of things hand made. Thanks for posting about the black apple. Never even heard of such a thing. Love learning something new every day :)

  3. Here in Fredericton there are some craft shows they call Bazar and are mostly done by church ladies who rent tables and serve a lunch and snacks to bring in some revenue and a lot of stuff I wouldn't buy but then there is the big craft show and sale all made by real artists who have to belong to the association to be able to participate in the annual show and sale. They have some really nice crafts and nothing made in China.

    Nice outing with your friends and that food looks so yummy. JB

  4. I'm with you on the "crap shows" (great name) Same thing here in PA -mostly - even the "unique" stores that are supposed to be all manmade are not anymore and same with some of the juried shows - just not as strict!

    Like you said it's good to get out with friends and see what "not to do"

    Now your margarita and mexican food is right up my alley - yumm!

  5. Tammy ~
    Here in northern Ohio there's lots of crap, too. Even one of the better outdoor shows this fall had really gone downhill. It's disappointing. The Chinese must really think we are all crazy as they "craft" primitive items for us!
    Pug hugs :)

  6. As one of the hand crafters still out there doing shows, let me say, Don't give up on the arts and crafts shows.Spend your money only with the people that are hand making things and tell the people (in-charge) you would would like to see more handmade.Money talks!
    It is very hard for those of us that spend all that time hand making our things, only to see people at a "ART and CRAFT" show to stand in line to pay for crap made in China.

    Thank you Tammy for your sweet words about my work.

  7. I agree, Tammy! I was at the War Eagle Fair and wish it was as good as it used to be! I wish they would jury the artists and let only handcrafted items in! My mother and I both bought handfelted pins from Vicki and that was about it!!

  8. So sad to hear about War Eagle. I was really going to invite myself on your trip next year! I think the Ozark show was still pretty good though. Didn't you? I think I only saw one made in China booth. And there I asked the man if he painted all this crap and he looked me in the eye and said YES!!! On the back you could see where he Had painted over the made in China sign. Paint colors didn't even match!!!
    Let's get together and hook some this week. You call/I'll call.
    xo, Sheri