Hand-made treasures

Fifth annual House of Santa Mouse opens for Christmas shopping

Judy Merritt helps arrange some of the items that will be available during the Fifth Annual House of Santa Mouse event at the Blount County Public Library. The show and sale opens to the public on Thursday, Dec. 3.

Judy Merritt helps arrange some of the items that will be available during the Fifth Annual House of Santa Mouse event at the Blount County Public Library. The show and sale opens to the public on Thursday, Dec. 3.

It will be easy to spot patrons of the fifth annual House of Santa Mouse. They’ll be walking out of Blount County Public Library with Reindeer Droppings and Snowman Poo.

Of the 43 booths at the House of Santa Mouse, the Blount County Art and Crafts Guild booth will be the one where shoppers can find the Reindeer Droppings and Snowman Poo, as well as peach tea and gift bags emblazoned with original art signed by the local artists. The droppings are chocolate covered peanuts, and the poo is miniature marshmallows.

Event coordinator Loris Colborn said the fun items at the guild booth are fundraisers for the organizing body. “It helps with expenses,” Loris said. “This pays for next year’s show.”

House of Santa Mouse is open from noon to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Blount County Public Library.

Colborn and several other members of the group gathered at the library to promote and doing some planning for the annual event they started five years ago.

“The first year we had 25 members, and the show was started as an activity to help the guild grow,” said Colborn. “Well, it has. Our group now has a membership of 85. Of that 85, 43 will do the show this year.”

The show initially was at New Midland Plaza the first year. By the second year, it was moved to the Blount County Public Library. “We started off in the first room. The next year, we had two rooms. Now we’re also in the whole hallway. I am very proud of it. It is a phenomenal show,” Colborn said.

Group president Maxine Falls said the members have worked hard to make the event a success. “We have worked for four years trying to get this perfected,” she said, to which Colborn said, “It’s as perfect as it is going to get.”

And it would appear the group members do have the event down pat. Members who participate in the show come on Wednesday evening before the show to set up tables and layout the rooms. “Vendors put their covers down and set up, and we open to the public at noon on Thursday,” Colborn said.

The event coordinator said something else that makes the event “user friendly” is the single check out area for customers. “We have baskets, and people can shop, then pay either in the check and cash line or the credit card lines,” Colborn said. “Everything is coded by vendor. We post (sales), and after the show, we pay the vendors. People appreciate that they don’t have to write individual checks to vendors.”

Vendors also are required to volunteer a couple hours working customer service during the show.

“Last year was our best year. It’s a fun show for vendors,” she said.

The show is a good option for members who don’t normally do craft shows, Colburn said. “Some want to do a small show, and they can do this one,” she said.

Colborn said guests can find anything from crocheted items to handmade jewelry. “We have everything,” she said. “We have a whole gamut of items.”

Gloria Nelson said guests will be impressed with what is available. “It’s quality work,” she said.

Members and guests all enjoy the annual event just as the holidays are beginning, said the organizers. “I think it does kick off the season for everybody, Colborn said.

Nelson said anyone can join the guild. Individual members dues are $15 a year and a relative of a member can join for an additional $7.50. Meetings are at 6:30 p.m. in the Dorothy Hearon Room the first Monday of each month.

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