Winter’s Eve

Wild Willow Soap (available on Etsy)

Wild Willow Soap (available on Etsy)

Each year, the National Colonial Farm sponsors Winter’s Eve – an evening of caroling, refreshments, tours of the candle-lit farm, and opportunities for shopping. It’s the final event for the farm, before everything gets closed up for the winter season. The weather is, understandably, unpredictable around that time, and there’s always some concern as to whether or not people will brave the cold or mushy ground to come out.

With last Friday’s forecast of heavy rain, we were a little worried there’d be nothing but mud for people to trudge through during the event but, come Saturday, the rain stopped and the temperature dipped a little, to help solidify a few of the sloshier bits (though we still had to redirect travel past the usual entrance to the site, as it had become a squelchy mud hole). Volunteers worked throughout the morning, setting up tents and placing luminaries along the paths.

The main organizer likes to keep things simple for Winter’s Eve, but we had a few new things this go-around. One was the addition of a hot chocolate bar – with all sorts of extras to put in your cocoa. There were an assortment of marshmallows: peppermint (cut into shapes), chocolate, and regular (mini and jumbo). There were caramel nibs, candy canes (crushed and whole), graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chips, whipped cream, chocolate and caramel syrup, and red hots. You could also pick up a small cup of homemade chocolate-covered pretzels…which I did. I mean, you’ve got to participate in the whole visitor experience, right? 😉

My section of the event took place inside (I was one of the lucky ones). We organized a Green Crafter Fair and invited local artists

Stitch 'n Time textile club offerings

Stitch ‘n Time textile club offerings

and artisans. There were beautiful gourds and baskets, knitted and crocheted gifts, hand-spun wool yarn and beautifully dyed wool roving, jewelry, wreaths and swags of greenery, and two booths selling soaps, lotions, and other goodies.

I convinced Mom and Maggie to set up a booth at the event. At the time they agreed to come in, I only had two other vendors lined up. Thankfully, several more contacted me before the event, and we ended up with a nice turnout. I did a little shopping at the booths  (though not as much as I wanted to)  and even got out on site to enjoy the hot chocolate bar and a few moments by the bonfire.

Maggie made several feather ornament balls (which I didn’t purchase at the fair, and so have to make arrangements to get one from her next time I visit) and several drawings for sale. Our office manager, who has been looking for an artist to do a portrait of her bulldog, got her card and is trying to figure out which picture to send her. Commissions! Mom made a number of Christmas spider ornaments, using salvaged pieces from old necklaces. I absolutely love them, and I was actually really happy to see that my favorite – the “peppermint bug” – wasn’t purchased. I’m going to have to buy that one, too.

Mom and Maggie's table

Mom and Maggie’s table

Over the summer, when I was recovering for surgery, I had started work on a flock of tiny felt owl handwarmers. I needed something to keep my hands busy while I sat on the couch, and it needed to be something that could easily be put down when my medication made me sleepy. The owls were perfect. I’ve been steadily working on them these past few months, and had 30 finished in time for the fair. Mom put them out and charged $5 for a pair…and I sold all but two of them. I was astounded! I really hadn’t expected them to move so fast. I have about 12 more that weren’t finished in time, and I think those will be set aside for stocking stuffer gifts.

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