For as long as she can remember, Marilyn Radonz has loved crafting.
As a child, the longtime Vernon resident loved creating treasures with her mother. As an adult, she has taken that love of crafting and turned it into a holiday tradition, with the Christmas Memories Artisans Store, the annual craft show she organizes at Trinity United Church.
“I have always been a crafter, and growing up in Alberta, my mom was really into crafts and she used to sew all of the clothes for my sister and me,” she said. “My son loves crafting, too.
“For me, I just come up with ideas and run with them. I have a pad of paper beside my bed and if at 4 a.m. something comes up, I write it down.”
The 15th annual Artisans Store will once again be a two-day craft extravaganza at Trinity United Church, Nov. 17 and 18. As always, expect an enormous assortment of hand-crafted gifts and decorations.
“We started 15 years ago as a way for us to sell our crafts,” said Radonz. “I used to do the markets and found that intimidating and it was usually two or three days and very tiring, so I thought we could try something different and so I approached a few people and spoke to the United Church and we’ve been there the whole time.”
And, as always, the artisans have banded together to give back to the community. For many years, they have held a door prize draw and given the proceeds to the North Okanagan Hospice Society. This year, they are helping out the North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society’s adopt-a-family program. Through the program. NOYFSS matches businesses, agencies, families and groups to the families/youth it serves in the North Okanagan who are less fortunate. If you are interested in adopting a family, please call Lorel at 250-545-3572 or firstname.lastname@example.org
“Each crafter donates something for the door prize and we sell tickets,” said Radonz, who will once again bring her own wide and varied assortment of hand-crafted items, from huge stars made from reclaimed wood, to the exquisite teddy bears that could give Gund a run for its money.
In addition to the artisans, the P.E.O. Sisterhood will once again have their own table set up where they’ll sell their popular jams, jellies, Christmas cakes and other treats. Proceeds from their sale will go, as always, towards helping a young woman to continue her post-secondary education.
The Artisans Store brings people from all over the Okanagan and Shuswap, said Radonz, drawing people each year who are looking for that special ornament for the tree, a fresh table runner for the Christmas dinner table or a hand-crafted toy.
“The ornaments are a big thing and I get a couple of folks who are there at 9 a.m. on the first day, waiting for us to open and they buy a bear from me every year,” said Radonz. “And we get a lot of seniors who come and buy the jams, also those who buy something for their grandchildren every year.”
Radonz, who has one grown son and two grandchildren, making the teddy bears is truly a labour of love. Each bear is a little different from the next and could range from a large blue teddy wearing a Christmas bow tie, to a small pink teddy in a party dress.
“When I finish a project, I have to be happy with it or I take it apart and redo it,” she said. “Everything we do is unique, so if you see it and you like it, you buy it right away as you might not see it again.”
With the sale running Nov. 17 and 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., both days, Radonz and her fellow crafters — there are seven in total — will spend the entire day before the sale setting up.
“And then it takes us an hour to take it down,” she said, laughing. “All of these crafters don’t do any other sales — we do it because we love it.
Christmas Memories, the 15th Annual Artisans Store, takes place Nov. 17 and 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., both days, at Trinity United Church, 3300 Alexis Park Dr., Vernon.