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Getting Crafty at the Spring Craft and Gift Boutique

LAS VEGAS, NV — On a sunny Saturday leading into Spring Break, when a few miles away The Strip is filling up with college kids seeing how many yard-long margaritas they can down, an upscale Green Valley neighborhood seems eons away.

Yes, the City of Henderson — Las Vegas’s good little sister to the south — is a different world at the best of times, especially in its serene Green Valley area. But today, one of a series of Las Vegas Craft Shows  is taking place, where unique artisans are showing and selling their wares at the Easter/Spring Craft and Gift Boutique .

It’s hardly The Strip, it’s not even close to a rowdy party, and it’s a welcome breath of spring air.

I have to admit, I haven’t actually been to a craft show since I was a little girl, and most of them were at churches. I remember tons of pastel crocheted goods (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) and not much else. So I didn’t really have a fully-defined vision of what I might see, but I was delightfully surprised; I’m a sucker for cool handmade items and funky jewelry, and I found lots of it at the craft show.

The show is the brainchild of organizer Judi Palumbo, a multi-talented artisan and longtime crafter. “We have people that make crosses out of stone, jewelry from flattened bottle caps, handcrafted bath and body, candles, soaps, recycled decor, finger puppets, handbags, baby and toddler items, florals, fudge, hats, scarves, dog products, magnets, crocheted goods, handmade pens, glass ornaments, etc.,” she explained, “From crafters to commercial sellers to services.”

Palumbo also owns DeJae’s, an online shop selling unique jewelry and accessories. But what she was showing at the craft show was even cooler: handmade glass-mounted (as seen in photo 1) or acrylic-coated necklaces, in geometric shapes or on dog tags and bottle caps.

The pendants feature fun pictures; some hand-drawn in Zentangle  style (as seen in photo 2), some of favorite characters like Hello Kitty, Mickey Mouse and Disney Princesses (as seen in photo 3), some of pretty abstracts, and some of logos from sports teams, Harley Davidson, and more (as seen in photo 4).

Each piece takes several hours to make, although she does them in batches of 80 to 100 over the course of a few days. The prices were a very reasonable range of $6.95 for bottle cap designs to $18.95 for double dog tags.

Another jewelry maker at the show was newcomer Jessica Gaston (as seen in photo 5) of Hugs for Hailey. She just started making glittery glass and handmade resin pendants and earrings (as seen in photo 6)  to support her 4-year-old daughter Hailey (as seen in photo 7), who was diagnosed with leukodystrophy, a rare incurable genetic brain disease.

This was Gaston’s first craft show, but she also sells the necklaces online, on Facebook and in her Etsy shop. The main Hugs for Hailey website even features a form to custom build a specific combination, or have Hailey pick one for you.

All her jewelry is quite inexpensive at only $10 to $15 apiece, and up to $20 for sets. With the proceeds going to help a child in need, buying one or more is an easy choice (I might be extra sentimental because our kids are the same age, but I bought a sparkly purple necklace myself) (as seen in photo 8).

Another, quite different, jewelry booth was staffed by the local Independent Designers for Origami Owl, Katrina Florez and Heather Telenko (as seen in photo 9). The company was impressively founded by teenage girl Bella Weems, and allows customers to create their own “living lockets” — like a charm bracelet in a box — by mixing and matching elements that are meaningful to them (as seen in photo 10). So in essence, the wearer of the jewelry is very much her own artisan. Charms start at $5 apiece, and lockets at $20.

A more traditional artist, who uses a kiln to create her eye-catching nature-inspired glass pieces, was Karla Shoup (as seen in photo 11) of Karla’s Place. She has been making beaded wall-hangings for close to 20 years, but only started making melted-glass birds, animals and leaf dishes a year ago — not that you’d ever guess it from their professional, detailed appearance.

Her colorful bird ornaments (as seen in photo 12) can hang on a tree, plant, or birdfeeder, inside or out. Customized glass animals capture the essence of your pet, forever immortalized on your shelf (as seen in photo 13). And the best part is, nearly everything is $15 or less.

And then there was The Tree of Life Yoga & Accessories, whose owner, Christy Bouhourdin (as seen in photo 14), was showing her handmade yoga bolsters, neck pillows and eye pillows. The booth caught my eye because I’m a yoga junkie, but also because the pieces looked attractive and well made. Bouhourdin is a private yoga instructor and Reiki master who originally used yoga to heal her injured back, in lieu of getting unwanted surgery for the second time. She then created the unique yoga props to help herself, and others like her.

Her neck and eye pillows are used in a yoga session’s final resting pose, or Savasana, to obtain deeper meditation (as seen in photo 15). However, stuffed with either mustard seed or buckwheat hulls and scented with lavender or unscented, the accessories can also be put in the microwave or freezer and used therapeutically. The bright covers are all removable, prewashed and washable, and prices run from $8 to $60; and then there are cute handmade zipper pulls at $6 apiece (as seen in photo 16).

Of course, this is only a sampling of the booths and craftspeople at the show, and everyone who walked through the doors probably had their own unique favorites. “We try to put on a minimum of 8 shows a year and gear them around holidays,” says Palumbo (as seen in photo 17). That makes them most profitable for vendors, and most desirable for consumers.

A schedule of events can be found at the Las Vegas Craft Shows ( website, along with an application for artisans who want to be part of a future show; they take place at the Sun City MacDonald Ranch / Desert Willows Community Center at 2020 West Horizon Ridge Parkway in Henderson, NV.

Photo 7: Courtesy of Jessica Gaston, Hugs for Hailey

All other photos © Heather Vale Goss, The Unwrapper LLC