An artsy/craftsy day after all

?I make things. Lots of things. I?ll keep making things until my fingers fall off. Then I will grab my hot glue gun, reattach those suckers and make more things.? ?artist Kathy R. Jeffords

Arts & Crafts weekend in Hillsboro is a love it or leave it event. Some people charge ahead with a crossbody bag and two free hands poised for purchase. Others stock up on necessities Armaged?don-style in the days before the onslaught, close the curtains, bring in small pets and avoid doors and windows for 12 solid hours.

I get it. That?s me to a degree. I enjoy both arts and crafts, but I only have so much square footage in which to stack stuff, so I can talk myself down fairly easily.

For some reason, as the event hype rises, my enthusiasm for shopping nosedives. Maybe it?s a defense mechanism from the minute financial lobe of my brain. Or that other lobe that struggles to calculate how 40,000 people could possibly fit onto two intersecting streets, then poses the question, ?Is this something you really want to experience firsthand??

I?m not so sure of it.

My general rule is if I have to psych myself up for something, it may not be the best way to spend my time.

But this year, the temperature was too nice for closed curtains, the pets were antsy to run around outside and sunshine burst its way in through all of the doors and windows.

Plus, my daughter was determined to go. So, we ventured out the door and downtown. Having previously read the food vendor list I had one obtainable goal, which meant, if nothing else, something tasty my way would come.

Our first purchase was, as I had predicted, food. Some?how we made it past the enticing smell of roasted almonds, slipped by the grilled hamburgers, staying strong until we found the walking tacos. Plopping ourselves down on a curb in the midst of streamlined chaos made them taste all that much better. Or is there just something about eating lunch out of a Doritos bag that makes everything that much better?

Purchase No. 2 worked out well for my daughter and her friend. A booth with polished rocks caught their eyes, and while sifting through the treasure troves of sparkle, they also were able to pick through the freebies and heard a story about ?Apache tears,? small pebbles that look black until you hold them up to the light, which shines right through them.

I came close to lobotomizing that financial brain lobe during my only near moment of weakness with a large dog rescue group from Denver. Their sales proceeds went to take care of the dogs, which made it harder to say no to a $50 canvas print?which looked exactly like our dog, Jack?by an artist named Dean Russo. He works with rescue centers and donates his work to help dogs in need. I did manage talk myself down in the end, but thanks to google ( we may own one eventually.

In the middle of our trip up and down Main and Grand, I found a break in the chaos in the form of a cold toddy with caramel and cream. This was at the time, and still stands, as my best purchase of the day. It may or may not be true that the arts crafts fair was a means to the coffee shop.

Add some cotton candy, a couple of Hippie headbands and wooden blocks spelling EAT that now sit in my kitchen window, and our Arts & Crafts excursion was complete.

Far less stressful than I anticipated, far less crowded than I had feared, and as a bonus, any caloric intake from a taco in a bag and fancy coffee was walked off by the last leg of the final block home.

Shelley Plett is a graphic designer for the Free Press and Kansas Publishing Ventures. She can be reached at

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