• Phyllis Picon reads the next ingredient needed for the friendship tea mix at Murphy Public Library’s Holiday Treat Exchange & Friendship Tea.
    Phyllis Picon reads the next ingredient needed for the friendship tea mix at Murphy Public Library’s Holiday Treat Exchange & Friendship Tea.
  • Artist Sheryl Bessette and Linda Longworth talk watercolor processes during the Murphy Art Center’s open house Friday afternoon.
    Artist Sheryl Bessette and Linda Longworth talk watercolor processes during the Murphy Art Center’s open house Friday afternoon.

SCOUTING AROUND: Library hosts holiday treat exchange

    While some people may have chosen to stay home on a rainy Saturday afternoon, eight women and two children gathered at the Murphy Public Library to share treats and friendship.
    It was the library’s first Holiday Treat Exchange & Friendship Tea, an adult programming event organized by library assistant Beth Rollins. The ladies brought treats and the recipes to make them, and each lady was given the recipe and ingredients to make friendship tea, a Russian tea, and prepare a jar of the mix to take home. Rollins modeled the event after old-fashioned treat and recipe exchanges.
    “I thought it would be a nice afternoon for people to come together,” Rollins said.
    After gathering a sample of chocolate chip cookie cheesecake bars, haystacks, firecrackers, wedding cookies, pumpkin muffins, chocolate-covered pretzels, ultimate cookies, 7-Up cream cheese bites and pumpkin bread, the ladies sat around a table and ate as they chatted about their families and plans for Christmas.
    “It’s a good time for women to get together and distress before the holidays,” said Tammy Gibson, who is friends with Rollins and brought the two-ingredient pumpkin muffins. “Plus, the treats are awesome.”
    Phyllis Picon, who works at the library, wanted to come to spend time with other library employees, like Rollins, Melissa Barker, Lashea Jerez and Bridget Wilson. She brought the wedding cookies because those are her favorite holiday cookies. Tasting the Russian tea and making a jar to bring home also brought back memories for her.
    “I used to make it when my kids were little,” she said.
    Rollins said she thought the event went well, and that it would be fun to do again. The participants agreed.
    “I think it’s wonderful,” Picon said. “We should do it more often.”

Craft show helps artists
    Dianne Gardner was still getting phone calls Friday morning from artists wishing to participate in the Valley River Arts Guild’s first Christmas Craft Show & Sale. The 19 tables Gardner had space for throughout the Murphy Art Center sold out within the first two weeks after the show was announced a month ago.
    “It’s overwhelming,” said Gardner, the fundraising chair. “It’s wonderful.”
    The show was held Friday afternoon and night. Half of the artists for the show were arts guild members, and the other half were other artists from the community, who Gardner said she would like to see become members.
    “I wanted to see new people here, new art here and variety – and make money,” she said.
    Money raised from vendor fees and the arts guild’s bake sale at the event went toward providing classroom space and classes. Gardner arranged the event to coincide with the final Friday Art Walk of the year.
    Some crafters said there was steady business throughout the day.
    “I’ve seen quite a few things go walking out the door,” said Greg Pillen, an arts guild member who was selling his wooden bowls at the event. “I think it’s a good thing for both the guild and for artists.”
    Sue McLaughlin of Hayesville stopped in the MAC to see the show while shopping downtown.
    “I thought I’d stop in and see the pretty things,” she said.
    Denise Dergarabedian was one of the artists participating who was not a member of the guild. She was selling her functional pottery at the show.
    “It was a whim,” she said.
    While she said the show was a good way for artists to try make extra money for Christmas, she planned to donate her proceeds from the event to the Hulbert-Johnson Friendship House homeless shelter in Murphy.
    Gardner said she welcomes feedback and is interested in having more space for crafters next year.
    “This is our first one,: she said, “but it definitely won’t be our last.”
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.