Archive for Thursday, December 7, 2006

Crafted for Christmas

Peanut brittle, photos and beadwork: Maranatha fund-raiser shows skills of vendors

December 7, 2006

Two crafty De Soto ladies helped bring a touch of homemade Christmas to the Maranatha Academy craft fair last week.

Carrie Dvorak and Chrissy Behee brought items they typically sell at craft shows. Dvorak, who does her own nature photography, makes cards and pictures with inspirational messages.

Behee makes a generations-old peanut brittle recipe.

"I got the recipe from my Great Aunt Ellen," she said. "It brings memories of her back."

Two days of snow and ice put the brakes on the school's fund-raising efforts for the craft fair, but organizer Pam Laffler said independent vendors at the Dec. 2 event donated some of their proceeds to school activities.

Vendors came from Bonner Springs, Blue Valley, De Soto, Shawnee, Lenexa, Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo. Some were first-time sellers of their own artwork -- encouraged by fellow members of the Maranatha community -- and others were long-time representatives of home sales companies.

"We've been blessed with our vendors," Laffler said.

Kaitlin Foley and Becky Anderson also had some homemade ideas for Christmas gifts -- from craft kits for children to gift baskets to prayer journals.

Kaitlin, a 14-year-old Maranatha freshman, and Becky, a 15-year-old home school student, decided to open their very own booth while working on a Lawrence Virtual School project together.

"It's relaxing," Becky said of their craft venture. "It's also fun. It can be a great hobby or business."

The girls even made up their own Web site, www.kbkraftsonline.com.

Maranatha fifth-grader Sara Laney said she was glad for a chance to get out of the house after two snow days. Her father, Larry Laney, came to sell his homemade woodwork. The Shawnee man has been doing in-home wood trim installation since the early 1980s.

Now, he's considering opening an Internet-based business to sell custom-made tables, cabinets and other handcrafted woodwork. He's been going to craft shows and sales fairs to gauge interest in his product.

Celeste Banks, Shawnee freshman at Shawnee Mission South High School, was selling her uncle's Austin limestone sculptures to raise money for her trip to China. Banks is hoping to attend a six-week course in international studies at a university there next summer.

Freshmen girls Vaughn Burris, Kansas City, Mo., Jordan DeTar Newbert, Bonner Springs, and Julie Hartzlar, Shawnee, all got together to help make crafts, too.

Julie's mother, Jan Hartzlar, makes beaded light covers, beaded cooking utensils and beaded crosses. Last week was her first craft fair.

"I have always made crafts, but I've usually given them away," she said.

Suzy Manning, Shawnee, who also teaches at the school, had a booth with her drawings of Maranatha students. For the past three years, she's been immortalizing Maranatha's senior class with character drawings.

"They're just stick figures, that's what I tell people," Manning said. "I'm a doodler."

Stick figures they may be -- but all are dressed or performing some type of activity they enjoy. While the drawings don't show facial expressions, they depict a little piece of each subject's personality. Her niece, Kaitlin Tearney, for example, is shown with her car and a "STUCO" sign.

Tearney, selling her own homemade T-shirts, was pleased with the craft fair turnout.

"I think it helps build personal business instead of buying all your Christmas presents from a huge super store," she said. "I think a lot of people don't think they're creative. They see something and they like it, but they don't realize they can do it."

Tearney began making T-shirts with silkscreen designs about four years ago, each with a Christian message. The Maranatha craft fair was her first experience trying to sell her work.

"If you try something and put yourself out there, people might like it," she said.

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