Handmade, Local Holidays

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For my birthday yesterday, I went to work.  That's right - I didn't want to take the day off.  I really enjoy my paid day off every week and I particularly love the Holiday season at the Arts Council.  It was a pretty quiet morning yesterday, Hilary and I focused on staying on top of the inventory pouring in for the holidays and getting it displayed in the store during the morning.  We had a few visitors throughout the day and then something happened at 4:30 and we were inundated with shoppers.  I actually had a LINE at the checkout counter!

Hilarly and I stayed busy 'till after 6:00 wrapping packages (yes, we do free gift wrap for purchases from the gallery) and helping customers check out.  It was a mad house with constant chatter from the credit card processor and tissue paper crinkling non-stop as we stuffed boxes and curled ribbon.  Our little shop did almost $800.00 worth of sales in under 2 hours, most of it through debit and credit cards which add an extra step and a few extra minutes for processing each sale.  This much traffic in a normal retail setting would have been very stressful for both customers and the people running the checkout. 

But not at the Arts Council!  Our customers were all very friendly and chatted with each other while they waited.  I heard strangers giving each other advice on gift giving and talking excitedly about the beautiful things in the shop.   Hugs were ditributed among customers - even I got a hug!   And with every sale I entered in the compuer, I knew that a real person in MY county was getting paid to do something they love.  The work of North Country hands was being validated with evey check written, every nickel dropped into the cash box, every beep from the credit card machine.   Come January, when heating bills are due and winter is making good on its promise to stay, our artists will be getting their Christmas Commission checks and their long winter will suddenly become a little warmer and a little brighter.

The SLC Arts Council Gift shop and Gallery is located at 51 Market Street in Potsdam. It is on the block between Jreck's Subs and the Clarkson University Bookstore (used to be Westons for you old timers) on the same side of the street.  It is the sparkliest window in town and we have beautiful gifts ranging in price from $5.00 to $1,500.00 representing the work of over 240 North Country Artists.  We offer gift certificates that can be used for either goodies from the gift shop or classes offered throughout the year.   You will find pottery, stained glass, jewely, mittens, scarves, hats, woden boxes and bowls, paintings, photographs, quilts, sculpture, lamps, ornaments and magnets and many other lovely things. Normal hours are 10-6 Monday -Friday, 10-4 on Saturdays but we do have a few specail hours for the holidays.  Check them out on the SLC Arts Council's website.

The rest of my day was wonderful, too.  I got more Facebook birthday wishes than I can count, Molly had fun at call backs for her musical - she thinks she might get the part of the Queen - we'll find out today and Maxx had a fun afternoon with gramma and grampa, who picked him up at school so he didn't have to ride the bus.  Bry and the kids took me to dinner at Hotel Grande, where we met Meemo, Nate, Jo and Derek for a wonderful meal.  Hotel Grande is about as close as you can come to 'Mexican' food this far North and the little boys were amazingly well behaved so it was a great meal.   Mom gave me some cash and some chocolate and ran off with the check before Bry could get up to pay for the meal.  Maxx gave me a pair of lovely, warm plum leather gloves which go well with my aubergine winter coat, Molly gave me a beautiful bead from ADKlampwork (another Adirondack glass worker!) and Bry gave me a Llewellen's Witches Calendar which Ive been wanting for years.  It lends some cred to the joke that I want to be a Buddist Mormon Witch when I grow up. 

It was an excellent way to spend my big day.  I'm so grateful for my wonderful family, my perfect job and the sweet friendships I enjoy.

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