Crafting for the holidays

When it comes to gift-giving, make it yourself or choose someone else's handmade creation

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already here. Before we know it, it'll be Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and then New Year's Eve. Of course, once Turkey Day is behind us, everyone starts thinking about gifts and the shopping season really takes hold.

In the past five years, I've moved, well, too many times. And each time I shed a bunch of junk that I either no longer need or no longer use enough (or at all) to justify keeping it. All this has been a good lesson in restraint when it comes to buying more things.

Of course, I'm going to end up purchasing some special gifts for the holidays—but I'll try to buy locally. And, each year around this time, I try to come up with creative things I can make for people. There's something cool about receiving a hand-made gift, even if it was crafted in bulk. My boyfriend currently has a 5-gallon jug of apple cider brewing in our kitchen. Yum.

So, in preparation for this column, I started looking around for some help when it comes to getting crafty. It turns out that there are quite a few people and places around town offering artsy tutorials just in time for the holidays.

Robin Lee's Earthy Creations Fine Art & Instruction is holding a series of workshops on everything from ornaments to decorative candle holders to jewelry. Some of it's Christmas-kitschy, like the upside down wine glasses decorated to be candle stands, but others, like the candles-in-jars project, look pretty elegant. Find her at to sign up for December workshops.

String Bead is, as usual, holding its holiday workshops specializing in—you guessed it—jewelry-making, ranging from the simple to the complex. The folks out there really know what they're doing, and as a bonus, the free workshops—nine of them in one day!—include 25 percent off materials. Dec. 9, all day. Log onto for more info.

• The Chico Horticulture Society will be at Trinity United Methodist Church on Dec. 12, 9:45 a.m. to noon, to teach people how to make festive holiday wreaths and centerpieces. At $15 a head and supplies included, this should be a fun way to make your own party decorations or to make something festive for someone else. Reservations are a must: email or call Sherry at 895-0840 to hold your spot.

Of course, not all of us are all that crafty. Luckily, there are some pretty amazing craft fairs coming up, where you can score some hand-made items and support local artists at the same time. Arguably the most anticipated are the annual Christmas Faire at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds (Dec. 4-6) and Chikoko's Bizarre Bazaar held at the Chico Women's Club (Dec. 12-13).

Happy Thanksgiving!