Saturday, November 26, 2011


Today is Small Business Saturday. The intention is to raise awareness of the need to support small businesses on the opening weekend of the Christmas shopping season. Small businesses are the back bone of America. We know  this truth from our own blog family. Be it Plastics, Art, Porkrinds, ChefHunters, Editing , Writing, Photography or Design  we are intimately familiar with the importance of independent businesses. Stay away from the mega chains, shop local, shop independent, shop hand made is the message being promoted today.

In our little Carolina town we have a very nice Farmer's Market. It adjoins the parking lot of our Arts Center downtown so there is plenty of  room for the masses to come on down. It is a charming L-shaped  open pavilion  with brick pillars, open rafters and metal roofing. It is designed for the farmers to back into their spaces so products are  displayed to those strolling through the pavilion. This is a good design which works very well.

Growing season is mostly over. Beginning this weekend, instead of the Saturday Farmer's Market, there is the Handmade Christmas Market Saturdays. I went today and was mostly horrified by what I saw. Seriously, Chickory and Boxer have no idea how good their stuff is. What did catch my eye was the snowmen and the penguin gourds. Those I liked. Actually I liked the idea of them . The ones I saw at the market were so poorly executed  I could not bring myself to spend  money on them.  In fact, I did not  see any buyers. Which is a shame because I think most, like me, came with the intention to be supportive of the market, the artists, downtown businesses, locally grown, hand crafted, or baked  goods. It was disappointing.

This is a bottle gourd.  You can even order seeds for these from Parks Seed Company.  Painting and dressing these as Snowmen makes a charming decoration. Even a great holiday activity with kids.
I can absolutely understand how at the end of growing season and approaching the holiday season the two became connected. What to do with all the late gourds?

I did not take my camera with me today so I fetched some images from the web. I was stunned by the quantity of stuff on gourd crafts, gourd growing, buying, carving, painting.The sheer quantity of stuff on the subject staggers the mind. Talk about a small business..... it looks bigger than small!

These are dried Penguin Gourds.

                                                                       So are these,

                                          And these. I love their cute little yellow bow ties,

But this handsome gourd is a turkey!
I think he would make a fine trophy for Blowfish
In honor of his first Thanksgiving as the TurkeyChef.


Jenny said...

I love these gourds! My Father used to help run a Farmer's Market in his town and a friend grew and decored gourds. The pictures of the penguins is perfectly timed because I was looking at ways to paint them and I'm "borrowing" your gourd penguins to help.

Did you buy the turkey gourd for Blowfish? He really should get something for not blowing up the house, the dog, the cars, himself and of course, you and Mermaid.


Aunty Belle said...

Awww..sorry fer the farmer's /craft disappointment.

It brings home an important point--jes' 'cause it is homemade doan mean it's okay to be junky--craft GOOD stuff so folks will want to support it. Ya have no right to expect support fer poor quality.

We had small bidness signs everywhar' too. I like the idea.

This year we's goin' as local an' natural as possible (see new Porch post) an' I'se actively seekin' ideas--but GOOD ideas. Homemade should never be synonymous wif' poorly made.

I concur wif Boxer-Babe--Blowfish earned his gourd turkey.

moi said...

What a great gift for Blowfish! Did you get it?

I feel ya on the craft show disappointment. Some shows, the quality is lacking; at others, the execution is good but it's in the service of a poor idea or level of taste.

fishy said...

You know what? I think this is a great family activity. I agree, some of the gourds are very clever, others are not much to my tastes. The penguins though .... oh my!

I was sooooooo annoyed the gourd artist had done such a slip shod job of painting and presenting her product. She did have some good ideas but her execution was just awful. I would have bought a dozen if they had been well done.

In another space there was an elderly woman in a wheelchair selling slices of banana bread. I bought some and once out of sight threw them in the trash. I simply could never eat, or serve, anything she made because of the horror of her crud embedded finger nails :-0

You absolutely hit the nail on the head, handmade objects must be worthy of purchasing or else it's just another form of pan handling.

I e-mailed the folks at to ask about the Turkey gourd. There are others for sale on Etsy but I did not like them as well. Maybe I will get lucky!

Later this week I am going to the Mistletoe Market at our Museum. Maybe that will be where I will find the good stuff.

My favorite gallery owners sold their Main Street building a few years back and semi retired. I miss them! They had an Artisans Christmas the last weekend in November every year. The offerings were always so diverse and so very wonderful it was hard to choose. If I knew where those artisans were having Christmas sales I would certainly go.

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