It's been quite the fall for me! In November, right before Thanksgiving, I participated in my first craft fair--The West Walker Holiday Art Fair--and it was so much fun! My heart goes out to all craft fair vendors though, it's actually very hard work sitting in a sale for 8 hours. You're always "on," reading people's body language, selling your work, even if it's through mental telepathy. At the end of the day, I was completely exhausted, mentally and physically.
Surprisingly, I did very well. I sold about 80% of everything I had! I'll definitely do this again. I've started working on my own designs for stranded mittens too. Here are some pictures of my booth, as well as my friend Deann's which we shared. She also successfully sold most of her linoleum-printed cards.
The Irving Park Community Food Pantry is also in the middle of a frenzied couple of months. For the first three weeks of November, every client went home with Thanksgiving-friendly foods, in addition to their regular distribution. Also, we commenced with our annual coat drive, which just ended yesterday. The number of clients increased as well; we served about 900 individuals in the first two weeks of November alone! Now we're in December, and clearly the volume knob is up to eleven. Yesterday, the first Wednesday of the month, the pantry served 943 people in 307 families! The volunteers worked until 3 p.m., which is about 3 hours past the normal closing time. I’m continually amazed by the volunteers at the Irving Park Food Pantry. They obviously believe deeply in their mission, they take it to heart, and keep it there.
Meanwhile, we’re getting ready for our special Holiday Distribution for those clients who qualify. This will occur on December 21st. We will distribute food appropriate for a special Christmas dinner, as well as toys for the children of our clients. Santa will be there too. We typically apply for the U.S. Marines’ Toys for Tots program, but that is also greatly supplemented by donations of toys and money for toy purchases by all the residents and church congregations in the area. It’s a huge undertaking.
Finally, just to add fuel to the fire that is my life, after many, many months (maybe even years) of thinking, vacillating, researching, fretting and finally accepting the challenge, we went to the Wright-Way Rescue in Niles and took home Bette. She is a 10-week-old full-bred yellow lab, and she is really beautiful and quite friendly. The four of us are learning so much from her right now. I had to put my personal training sessions, as well as my knitting, on the back burner for a little bit, and my new trainer (a dog trainer!) Amy, says it’s like having an alien in the house and learning to communicate with it, just as like we are aliens to her!! In terms of how it’s changed our lives, it’s a lot like having a new baby in the house...and we love her so much!