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Annual holiday craft fair showcases repurposed items

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Many old memories were made new Sunday during the 2013 Holiday Craft Fair & Market at the Dulles State Office Building, 317 Washington St.

That is something the Watertown Urban Mission, which benefits from the annual event, often witnesses at its Impossible Dream Thrift Store, according to Development Director Andrew G. Mangione. Craft fair vendors and thrift store shoppers alike refurbish old furniture and repurpose old sweaters, among other re-creations, he said.

“It keeps in the spirit of the mission with second chances,” Mr. Mangione said.

That is exactly what Karen Wise, Watertown, and Mary Jo Carpenter, Black River, do through their repurposing business, “Second Chances.” Displayed in the corner on the first floor of the State Office Building were the two women’s vintage, primitive and modern takes on gently used furniture and home decor.

“We like rustic because it’s more homelike,” Mrs. Wise said.

Other unusual crafts for sale from 64 other vendors included silver spoon jewelry and feathers and leaves that had hand-painted scenes; a few vendors offered recycled sweater products, such as mittens, purses, hats and pumpkin decorations.

Heather L. Barben, who sold mittens made from wool sweaters, said she finds sweaters at thrift stores and then cuts them and uses a fleece lining for her final products.

“I think a lot of people have had a garment they couldn’t part with, but it wasn’t useful anymore,” she said. “That’s what a lot of people are drawn to.”

Inspired by creating something new, Mrs. Barben said, all furniture in her home was purchased at the Impossible Dream Thrift Store and redone to her own liking.

Making something new out of something old is what Oneonta resident Susan V. Brunswick said she loves to do.

“I’d rather do that than buy new,” she said.

Mrs. Brunswick said she attended the craft fair after visiting her daughter, a resident of Copenhagen. She purchased a child’s wooden chair that she plans to repurpose for a granddaughter. Recycling items is a passion of hers, Mrs. Brunswick said, as she also finds new uses for old cashmere sweaters.

Key chains, made from wine corks and jewels, and night lights made from empty wine bottles were some of the other recycled gifts for sale Sunday, as were new handcrafted items, such as wooden cheese cutters and game boards.

Santa Claus also made a special appearance and handed out candy canes to children.

Mr. Mangione said the craft fair was expected to generate $3,000 to $4,000 to support all programs at the Watertown Urban Mission, 247 Factory St.


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