Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Whatever Happened to Beanbag Frogs?
When I was a girl I used to love going to church bazaars. There would be row upon row of yoyo clowns, crocheted potholders and beanbag frogs. I also remember stuffed snake toys, sock monkeys and the woodworked toys created by the "grandpas" at the church. These might have been trains or trucks with lathe-turned wheels. Of course the "oven rack puller-outer" and the "round tuits" were readily available. My brothers always located the clothespin guns that would shoot rubber bands at their sisters.
The best were the Christmas ornaments. Felt ornaments decorated with beads and sequins, crocheted snowflakes and clothespin angels covered the trees. A little later in the late 70's there was a huge trend toward quilting and soon patchwork and calico ornaments joined the rest. A quilt was usually displayed for a raffle and the lucky winner would go home very happy.
A delicious meal was served and we would go home with several plates of homemade treats (usually something that was the "Special Recipe" of one or another of the "Women's Guild" members.)
These items were lovingly created by hand with donated supplies by the members of the church in order to support a building fund or missionaries.
Those days are gone. But why?
The last church bazaars I have been to were the "booth" type arrangements where "vendors" purchased a table and set out their wares. Hardly anything was handcrafted, most was manufactured. There were candles and purses and cosmetics and kitchenware. I discovered some jewelry and knitted baby items that were handcrafted but it still felt like shopping from an individual vendor and not a group effort.
Plates of homemade treats have been declared "illegal." Supposedly, food prepared for the public must be made in certain ways with certain health standards and since home kitchens can't all be inspected and monitored, the goodies are gone.
Raffles are now considered a form of "gambling" and in many cases are no longer allowed.
At one bazaar (not even called a bazaar anymore, but a craft fair) I purchased a sock monkey. I was delighted to meet the woman - a grandma - who made it, but honestly I bought it more for the irony and the kitsch value rather than a genuine appreciation for the handcrafted quality of this item.
Well, I can't change things but I did a little bit to remind myself of the fun of the beanbag frog. I discovered this vintage pattern and decided to make it up as part of my "frog theme." I love how it turned out and I am afraid that I may also have to make the turtle.
What do you think?