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Ho-Ho-Holidays!: Market features new, returning artisans

By Tabitha Johnston - Chronicle Staff | Dec 25, 2020

Martinsburg residents Kyle Dove and Jake Dove purchase Christmas gifts from The Cottage of Herbs Owner Inge Ledden in the Ho-Ho-Holiday Handmade Market in the War Memorial Building. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Maryanne Caruso sat beside her daughter, Meredith Caruso, on Saturday afternoon, as they manned their respective tables — Harper’s Fairies and Meredith — on the final weekend of the Ho-Ho-Holiday Handmade Market in the War Memorial Building.

Maryanne, a longtime Kearneysville resident, has been selling her whimsical fairy displays and candles for a few years by herself at local markets. But when her daughter, a animal portrait painter and baker, moved up from Florida to live with her a few months ago, she realized they could begin selling at markets together for the first time. Their first time selling together was at this year’s Ho-Ho-Holiday Handmade Market, which ended last weekend.

“A couple of weeks ago was my first weekend selling at this market,” Meredith said, mentioning it was also her first time selling her products at a market. “As a creative mind, I have kind of an explosion of ideas. That’s why it’s great to have my own place where I can explore that!”

According to Meredith, the popularity of her products at the market was a pleasant surprise. Throughout the Ho-Ho-Holiday Handmade Market, she received a number of orders for baked goods and gourmet dog treats for her to make for local residents’ Christmas celebrations. Filling custom orders, Meredith said, helps satisfy her desire to experiment artistically.

“If people think of something new they’d like to try, I’d be happy to make it for them — as long as I have a bit of notice!” Meredith said.

Meredith Caruso, of Kearneysville, was one of the newest vendors at the Ho-Ho-Holiday Handmade Market in the War Memorial Building this year. Tabitha Johnston

Across the room, longtime Ho-Ho-Holiday Handmade Market seller Diana Shutt was kept busy by Christmas shoppers, many of them young families appreciative of her unbreakable hand-decorated upcycled ornaments.

“Young families are my primary clients. However, a lot of people also like buying these for gifts at Christmas time,” Shutt said. “I take something nobody wants and paint on them, and they’re suddenly worth something!”

According to Shutt, her unbreakable ornament bases are made of styrofoam, plastic or wood, but she also upcycles some used glass ornaments for sale at local markets and boutiques near her home in Frederick, Md.

“They’re fun to make!” Shutt said. “They’re lightweight to hold and carry around while you’re shopping, and people enjoy that they look different than ornaments you can find in a regular store.”

To learn more about Diana Shutt Designs, visit www.dianashutt.com, or call 412-554-2106.

Some of the most popular upcycled Christmas ornaments on sale at the Ho-Ho-Holiday Handmade Market were dessert-themed. Tabitha Johnston

To commission a pet portrait or order baked goods from Meredith, email meredithsmagicalmishmash@gmail.com or call 909-331-6675.

Gourmet dog treats by Meredith sit on display in the Ho-Ho-Holiday Handmade Market in the War Memorial Building. Tabitha Johnston