Just like UPS and FedEx, I thought I was ready for the holidays. The three of us hit the ground running the week after Thanksgiving, confident in our ability to get everything done before Christmas, no matter the challenges and deadlines. We always had before, right? But the days flew by like calendar pages in a 1940's movie, peeling off one after another in quick succession, and despite our best efforts, we all fell a bit short. I wanted to share the details of the stocking competiton I wrote about earlier, but I just didn't get to it. So like the others, I'm scrambing to catch up before the new year.
I've mentioned before that on our most recent move, we landed in a very picturesque little town. At the town square, within walking distance of our home, concerts and farmers' markets are held in the summer and at this time of year, it's bedecked with festive lights. Across the street from the clocktower is The Grey Colt, a wonderful little shop that's been here since 1959. For the last 13 years, they've hosted a stocking competition in December, each year benefiting a different local charity.
Anyone can enter a handmade stocking and all are displayed in the shop at an evening preview party early in December. It's quite a crowded event, due to the small footprint of the shop and high local interest in the unveiling of the year's new crop of entries.
Each year, a different guest judge is chosen to award prizes during the event in several categories. The next day, the stockings, each tagged with a number, are displayed in the store's front windows for the next week and a half. Raffle tickets are sold, the buyers able to indicate by number which stocking they want to win.
This year's beneficiary was Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center, a local riding stable which provides equine therapy for people with special needs.
There was a record number of entries this year ~ 62! ~ and each time I drove through town, I noticed people standing at the window display, jotting down numbers before heading in to purchase tickets.
Last year was my first at the preview party. Having just heard about the competition, I bought some tickets and was surprised to win a hand-stamped beauty by Salli Swindell, a local artist and author you might be familiar with through (among others) her 'They Draw & Cook' site/book.
Large ~ made from a feedsack!
It must have been beginner's luck, because, alas, this year there was no phone call on drawing day.
I didn't come away empty-handed, however. My stocking won the "Best Technique' ribbon, chosen by this year's judge, the charming and talented Dinara Mirtalipova, whom you might recognize from a number of recent articles in illustration and design periodicals such as Uppercase and Where Women Create. She's posted some fun photos of the event ~ and more stockings! ~ on her Facebook page. I haven't yet heard who won my stocking. I hope it landed in a good home.