Treasure Hunt 23/11/02

Dear Donna,

I found this small pamphlet-type homemade book. Inside are several different pieces of crochet.

No two are alike, so I’m wondering if this is a teacher’s booklet. It’s possibly from my grandmother’s period of time.

Kate in Milford

Dear Kate,

You guess is a good one! I don’t think it even has to be a teacher’s, though. This sample book is a collection of someone’s work.

Yours looks to be from the Victorian era but could be even later. The fact that there are a few pages with multiple design work is what carries the value today.

I have had a few sample books over the years and each brings a different value, depending on age and the work inside. But they range from $50 to $100+.

So you found a treasure! I hope this helps you figure out what to do with your collection.

Thanks for sharing with us, Kate.

Featured photo: Courtesy photo

Kiddie Pool 23/11/02

Family fun for whenever


• The Riverbend Youth Company will present High School MusicalFriday, Nov. 3, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 4, at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 5, at 2:30 p.m. at the Amato Center for the Performing Arts (56 Mont Vernon St. in Milford, Tickets cost $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and kids.

• Teach the children about their jam-band forebears at Rock and Roll Playhouse — Music of the Grateful Dead for Kids on Sunday, Nov. 5, at noon at Bank of NH Stage (16 S. Main St. in COncord; Tickets cost $18.75 in advance, or $5 more at the door.

Museum happenings

• At the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center (2 Institute Drive in Concord;, 271-7827), this Friday’s Super Stellar Friday program (program starts at 7 p.m.; doors open at 6:30 p.m.) will focus on “Breaking Barriers: A Woman’s Journey in Aviation” with Debbora Losch, education director at the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire. Losch served as an AH-64D Apache helicopter mechanic while in the U.S. Army, according to a press release, and will discuss the challenges and triumphs of women in aviation. Tickets cost $12 for adults, $9 for ages 3 to 12, $11 for 62+. A webinar version of the presentation is free to view but registration is required.

• At the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (6 Washington St. in Dover;, 742-2002), the Thursday Cultural Crafts for November will focus on Bonfire Night in the United Kingdom. The program is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. during the 9 a.m. to noon session and 2:30 p.m. during the 1 to 4 p.m. session and is included with admission on all Thursdays in November except Nov. 23 (Thanksgiving). On Saturday, Nov. 4, Quint-Essential Winds will perform at 10:30 a.m., offering three classic stories presented with music and interactive elements. Tickets cost $12.50 for everyone over 12 months, $10.50 for 65+.


• New England author and illustrator Matt Tavares will read his new picture book Dasher Can’t Wait For Christmas, a follow-up to his book Dasher!, on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 11 a.m. at Gibson’s Bookstore (45 S. Main St. in Concord;, 224-0562).

Save the date

• Have kids interested in music lessons? Get a look at what they could learn when more than 100 students show off their guitar, piano, ukulele, violin, saxophone, trumpet, drums and vocal skills at North Main Music’s student concert on Sunday, Nov. 12, at Nashua High School North (8 Titan Way) presented in 90-minute segments from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. See for more information on the music school and for more on the concert.

Fall pruning

A few bold cuts can transform a tree or shrub

I asked an experienced arborist the other day what he thought about pruning apple trees in the fall. His answer was the same as mine: “Prune when you have time and the pruners in your hand.” Yes, March is a good time to prune, but I suspect that farmers started the tradition of pruning their orchards then because it was too early to plow or plant, and they were suffering from cabin fever. Over the years, I have pruned most sorts of trees in the fall, winter, spring and summer — and seen no adverse effects. I particularly like to prune in the fall after leaf drop, as one can see clearly the shape of the shrub or tree.

Plants that bloom early in spring or summer have already formed buds for next year. Early bloomers include fruit trees, forsythia, lilac, magnolia, fothergilla, viburnums, rhododendrons, azaleas and many more. Right now you can see big fat buds on most of those, just waiting for spring and the right time to bloom. I say losing a few blossoms to pruning is no big deal: You will have a more beautiful tree to look at all winter, and a healthier tree next year.

Hardwood trees like maples, beech, oak, magnolia and linden can be pruned now. Maples and birch should not be pruned in the spring because they will bleed ferociously. Roses I usually prune in the spring, after I see how much the winter has killed off, if anything. Evergreens like pine and hemlock I usually prune right after the new growth has occurred in summer — that helps keep their growth in check.

Every tree or shrub is pre-programmed to be a certain size and shape. It’s in its DNA. You can influence how it will grow, but it will almost always persist and be what it is programmed to be. It’s very tough to keep a hemlock or pine small, for example. But you can remove lower branches so the mower can get under a tall tree, or make space for chairs in the shade.

My late sister Ruth Anne loved to prune. Her approach to pruning was to start by sitting on the ground and looking up through the branches. First, she looked for branches that filled up space but added little to the overall beauty and structure of the plant. If a tree is too crowded with branches, the interior is a mess and many leaves do not benefit from the sun.

Trees and shrubs look best, and perform best, when they have strong branches that will stand up to ice or snow loads. Ask yourself this question when considering removing a branch, “What will this look like in five years? In 10?” The answer guides me. I like to say that a bird should be able to fly through a well-pruned apple tree without getting hurt.

Don’t be a timid pruner. A few bold cuts (removing large stems) can transform a tree in just a few minutes. Nibbling away at the edges, taking off pencil-thick branches, is slow, tedious work.

How much wood can you remove in a single season? The old rule of thumb was a third of the leaf-producing branches. Now experts advise just 20 to 25 percent. Remember, the leaves are the engine of the tree. They produce the sugars that feed the roots, allow growth and produce the fruit. If you pile up cut branches near the tree you are working on, it will be easier to see when you have taken enough.

You should always remove all dead branches. Dead branches have dry, flaky bark. If you rub the bark of a small branch, you should see a green layer. Dead branches don’t count when you are calculating how many branches you can remove.

Where should you make your cuts? At the origin of the branch, either on a bigger branch, on the trunk, or at ground level. Don’t cut off a branch flush to the trunk as it will open up a big wound. Instead, look at the branch and see where the “branch collar” is, and cut just beyond it. The collar is the slightly swollen area at the base of a branch, and its bark is often wrinkled.

Here are the cuts I make when pruning a tree, in the order I take them out: (1) dead wood, (2) damaged or cracked limbs, (3) crossing or rubbing branches, (4) branches that are growing toward others or toward the center of the tree. (5) branches that are paralleling others and close to them (I remove the weaker of the two).

Removing a big branch is tricky: The weight can force the branch to break before you cut all the way through, allowing it to fall and tear the bark of the trunk. Make your first cut 18 inches from the trunk and on the underside of the branch. Then go a little farther out the branch and make a top cut. If the heavy branch starts to drop, the undercut will keep the branch from tearing the bark. Then make a through cut at the branch collar.

Buy good tools and keep them clean, dry and sharp. Don’t try to prune a tree that is so big you need a chainsaw. Leave that for the professionals. But shrubs? Anybody can work on them and make them look better. Think of pruning as creating sculpture. I do, and the frustrated artist inside me feels great when I have transformed a scraggly shrub into a thing of beauty. Go for it!

Henry has been living and gardening in Cornish, New Hampshire, for 53 years. He is the author of four gardening books. You may reach him at PO Box 364, Cornish Flat, NH 03746 or

Featured photo: Branch collar to left of line drawn shows where to prune a branch. Photo by Henry Homeyer.

The Art Roundup 23/11/02

The latest from NH’s theater, arts and literary communities

Whodunit: The Hillsborough Community Center will present Murder at the Malt Shop, billed as a “zany mystery … with a heap of nostalgic 50s references,” on Friday, Nov. 3, at 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 5, at 1 p.m at Hillsboro-Deering Middle School (6 Hillcat Dr. in Hillsboro). Tickets cost $20 ($10 for 60+ and15 and under). See

New London stroll: The Center for the Arts will hold a gallery stroll on Friday, Nov. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. featuring six New London locations — New London Inn (353 Main St.) with the works of Peter Anderson; Bar Harbor Bank (32 Main St.) with the creations of Carole Sanetti; Blue Loon Bakery (12 Lovering Lane) with oil painter Tatiana Yanovskya-Sink; the Fleming Center at the New London Barn Playhouse (88 Main St.) with the “Art Cafe” exhibit; Candida Clayton Gallery (210 Main St.) with five featured artists, and Tatewell (277 Newport Road) with Ludmila Gayvoronsky, according to a press release. See

Gallery show: There’s still time to catch “Images of Life Re-Envisioned” at Two Villages Art Society (846 Main St. in Contoocook; featuring the work of Barbara Morse, an Amherst artist who specializes in graphic drawings, according to a press release. The exhibit closes on Saturday, Nov. 11; the gallery is open to the public Thursdays through Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.

Route 3 Art Trail
Enjoy art, open studios, demonstrations, a raffle and more during the Route 3 Art Trail on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 15 locations from North Concord through Penacook, Boscawen and into Franklin. A map and passport are available at; visit (and get the passport stamped at) five places to be entered in a raffle, the website said.

At Twiggs Gallery (254 King St. in Boscawen;, 975-0015), one of the spots on the tour, Sleighbell Studio, the gallery’s annual holiday art fair, will open on Saturday, Nov. 4. The gallery will feature fine art and craft times from more than 20 artists, according to a press release. The gallery is open Thursday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Through Saturday, Dec. 16, the gallery will feature events on Saturdays from 1 to 3 p.m., such as make-and-take crafts.

More symphony: The Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra opens its season on Sunday, Nov. 5, at 3 p.m. with the world premier of “At This Point,” a piece commissioned in honor of Portsmouth’s 400th anniversary, according to a press release. The concert will take place at the Music Hall in Portsmouth; tickets cost $25 to $35 for adults ($30 for seniors, $15 for students). See

New show: Creative Venture Gallery (411 Nashua St. in Milford;, 672-2500) will open its annual “Small Works — Big Impact” show on Tuesday, Nov. 7, and hold an opening reception where you can meet many of the participating artists on Friday, Nov. 10, from 6 to 8 p.m. The show features work in a variety of media from more than 30 area artists and most pieces are smaller than 12 inches in diameter, according to a press release. The gallery is open Tuesday and Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m.; Thursday from noon to 6 p.m.; Friday from noon to 4 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m., according to the website.

Yes, those mittens: Vermont author and fiber artist Jen Ellis will visit Gibson’s Bookstore (45 S. Main St. in Concord;, 224-0562) on Thursday, Nov. 9, at 6:30 p.m. to discuss her book Bernie’s Mitten Maker: A Memoir, according to a press release. Ellis is the maker of the internet-famous mittens Bernie Sanders wore to the 2021 presidential inauguration and the book discusses her life and the fame those mittens brought her, according to a press release.

Intown Concord’s Art Walk
Intown Concord will hold an Art Walk for the First Friday event on Friday, Nov. 3, from 4 to 8 p.m. At the Bank of NH Stage (16 S. Main St.), Saad Hindal, an Iraqi artist, will discuss his newly completed mural, according to a press release. Concord Arts Market will have a pop-up in Bicentennial Square with live music from Brian Burnout from 4 to 5 p.m. The New Hampshire Art Association and Queerlective will hold an artist pop-up at the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce office (49 S. Main St.) featuring the exhibit “Magical Realism” from artist William Turner. Penumbra (10 N. State St.) will feature demonstrations by Meadows Madsen (pottery) and Heidi Pauer (jewelry). Pillar Gallery (205 N. State St.) will show off its new exhibit “Flora & Fauna” and Pompanoosuc Mills (28 N. Main St.) will feature works by artists Jess Barnett, Michelle Motuzas, Helen Fitzgerald and more, the release said. See and find a map of participating locations on Intown’s Facebook page.

A community pillar

New gallery brings art hub to Concord

Mike Howat and Fallon Andrews had been deliberating their vision for about a year before officially opening the doors to PILLAR Gallery and Projects at 205 N. State St. in Concord on Saturday, Sept. 30. The pair will showcase art across a variety of media. Their inaugural exhibition, “Flora & Fauna,” is on display now through Friday, Nov. 17.

“I think there’s a need for it in the area,” Howat said. “There’s a lot of amazing artists and art-minded people and I think [there’s] a need for a place for professional artists to show their work and for the community to have a gathering place outside of bars and restaurants.”

Andrews adds, “With the New Hampshire Institute of Art dismantling over the years and there not being a lot of hubs for artists, we wanted to be a pillar in the community.”

Andrews and Howat met a few years ago through mutual friends. With over a decade of combined experience — Andrews having worked on different events throughout the state and Howat being a working artist and an art teacher for about eight years — the duo decided to team up to curate two salon-style exhibitions, Salon 2021 and Salon 2022, at Kimball Jenkins in Concord.

“It held over 700 works of art and over 350 or so artists,” Andrews said. “With that momentum going in the community and feeling like we just wanted to be something that people still could get excited about, that’s why we wanted to collaborate and work together to open this up.”

On their opening day, they debuted their first ever exhibition, “Flora & Fauna,”with acrylic work by Lauren Welch, fabric art and stoneware by local artist Rachel Montroy and ceramics by Cierra Vigue, among others.

“We wanted it to be something that caught people’s eyes and attention and be the opposite of what people thought of when people hear the subject, [flora and fauna],” Andrews said. “Normally around these parts you see traditional landscapes and things that are pretty digestible, and we wanted to do something radically different, and that’s why ‘Flora & Fauna’ is bright and it almost looks like a little alien world inside of this small sleepy town.”

Their upcoming exhibition “As the Light Wanes”follows the theme of the changing seasons and the losing of light that comes with descending into the winter months and will be on display from Saturday, Dec. 9, through January 2024. The gallery also includes a shop where stickers and prints are for sale, and Andrews hopes to start offering coffee, tea and treats in the coming weeks.

“We’re definitely really excited to bring something else to [this] side of the neighborhood,” Andrews said. “My goal in the next few years is to extend downtown Concord and really have it reach more of those suburban areas and really connect the whole city.”

PILLAR Gallery and Projects
Where: 205 N. State St., Concord
Hours: Sunday and Monday, noon to 4 p.m.

“Flora & Fauna”
When: On display through Nov. 17

Featured photo: PILLAR Gallery. Courtesy photo.

Crafts in NH

Local artisans talk about making cool stuff — and how their hobbies became a business

Plus Shop for unique finds at craft fairs

By Angie Sykeny and Renee Merchant

In New Hampshire, the crafting scene is a testament to the passion and persistence of its artisans. From hand-completed diamond paintings to custom maps and repurposed fabric crafts there is a broad range of creations in the craft and fine craft category. These artisans, through a blend of traditional and modern techniques, have successfully bridged the gap between personal hobbies and entrepreneurship, contributing to the state’s vibrant local markets.

Michael Lindskog of Mountain Man Handpan in Milford


Describe your craft and what makes it unique.

My craft is taking flat pieces of sheet metal and then turning it into a singing-sound sculpture. The instrument’s uniqueness is, in part, the exclusivity that exists around the instrument. It was invented in the year 2000 in Switzerland. I’m one of only a few hundred makers in the world and the only one in New England. The sound that the instrument brings forth is one that truly has to be experienced in person in order to fully appreciate the acoustic nature of the instrument.

round metal shield looking thing sitting on grass near rock wall
Mountain Man Handpan. Courtesy photo.

How did you first discover your passion for your craft?

I’m a self-taught musician from the age of 13, and I discovered the handpan in 2007. A friend of mine sent me a video of an instrument I had never seen or heard before. It intrigued me so much that I wanted to find out more about it. Where everyone [who plays] was located at that time … was a place called, which is an online forum. Then it took me another several years after that and a long drive before I was able to hear one in person.

Could you walk us through your creative process and share any essential materials or techniques you use when crafting?

The instrument starts as a flat piece of steel, and it’s either hydroformed, air-hammered or pressed with a stamp to create tone fields that are then tuned and balanced … to make the whole instrument a cohesive piece. As far as building goes, it took me four years and thousands of hours to figure out how to do what I do. And really, ‘keep hammering’ was the … best advice I ever have received from other builders because you can’t really relay in words what the steel … can actually teach you about how it needs to be hit. … Just keep hammering and eventually ‘a-ha’ moments come along, and you take those and move on to the next.

Could you describe the process of turning your craft from a hobby into a business?

That’s honestly still a work in progress; 2023 is Mountain Man Handpan’s first business year, and I’ve taken several steps, [like] being juried and accepted into the New Hampshire League of Craftsman and marketing locally … to create more handpan enthusiasts. … We take it one instrument at a time and try to focus more on the quality and longevity of the instrument.

What challenges have you encountered with your craft business and how do you deal with those?

The primary challenge is there are next to no people that have come before me that can teach the way, so to speak. [Creating] an instrument that’s on par with the other best makers in the world is an accomplishment that was really the first major challenge that we’ve overcome.

Nurit Niskala of NuArt Jewelry in Londonderry

See and the Bedford High School Handmade Fair on Nov. 12.

Describe your craft and what makes it unique.

My jewelry is created from recycled metal scrap. … The professional old techniques and working by hand, using recycled metal then uplifting the look with patina make the designs stand out.

How did you first discover your passion for your craft?

From a young age I learned from my dad, who is a jeweler himself, how to create metal jewelry. I was drawing and playing with metal and other material from a young age; it’s part of me.

Could you walk us through your creative process and share any essential materials or techniques you use when crafting?

I use patina to uplift the look of my jewelry … using techniques [such as] forging, forming, texturing and shaping according to my inspiration. My pieces have a contemporary tradition of craftsmanship that was passed down to me.

Could you describe the process of turning your craft from a hobby into a business?

intricate, colorful metal necklace showing abstract fish and four hanging beads
NuArt Jewelry. Courtesy photo.

The transition from a hobby to a business requires dedication, hard work and a strategic approach. It’s essential to balance your passion for jewelry-making with effective business practices to achieve success. A few steps I went through [are] creating a business plan; opening a business account; and ensuring your jewelry pieces are of high quality and that you have a range of designs.

What challenges have you encountered with your craft business and how do you deal with those?

Marketing has been my most significant challenge. I pour my heart and soul into every piece of jewelry I create, so negativity has had a slight impact on my sense of self. … Creating a professional online presence [through] social media, a website and online marketplaces to showcase and sell your jewelry and networking … [through] craft fairs and local markets or partnering with boutiques or online retailers … is very important.

Amanda Cairns of Pure Pixie Dust in Manchester

See and the Hudson Fall Into the Holidays Craft & Vendor Fair on Nov. 4.

Describe your craft and what makes it unique.

I make fun beaded items that can be customized for almost any occasion … or theme. These items can include bookmarks, badge reels, pens, keychains, beaded wristlets and more.

How did you first discover your passion for your craft?

I am a serial crafter. I love to try new crafts and fail miserably! I am not an artist by any means, but something about the beaded items allows me to express not only myself but my clients. I love when a client gets a sassy pen that matches their energy, or a teacher gets something special to use that their kids love.

Walk us through your creative process and share any essential materials or techniques you use when crafting.

While I do think I am self-taught, I did a lot of research on where to buy materials such as silicone beads, nylon string, metal keyrings, etc. I also found joining an online community of people who do beaded items was essential to my success. You learn from each other’s failures and success. I started with a wide audience making items for everyone but slowly found my niche with keychains and pens. I like to make items with themes, matching colors and relatable sayings. I cater to my clientele by paying attention to what they like and always taking feedback as a learning opportunity.

What was the process of turning your craft from a hobby into a business?

I am a Disney Travel Agent and wanted to find something special to extend the Disney magic. I began by making Disney themed pens that I sent in my ‘You’re going to Disney’ package. I extended my craft to special keychains and before I knew it I was making bulk orders for companies, selling at vendor fairs, online and on TikTok.

What challenges have you encountered with your craft business and how do you deal with those?

I think competition would be the largest challenge I have faced so far. Vendor fair and craft markets tend to be smaller events, and it’s difficult when you have a similar company to yours selling a few booths over. I remind myself there are hundreds of restaurants in Manchester, some small and some large, but they all have different clientele. It’s their unique style that keeps them in business. I like to think my style and unique clientele does the same.

Alise Philbrick of Alise’s Pieces in Manchester

See AlisesPiecesCo on Etsy and Alises Pieces on Facebook.

Describe your craft and what makes it unique.

I focus on three types of crafts: diamond painting, puzzles and cross stitching. All are hand completed projects by me and are great for gifts. Some are personalized specifically for loved ones, while others strike toward collectors.

How did you first discover your passion for your craft?

I first began my love of puzzles and cross stitching with my grandmother when I was a child.

Walk us through your creative process and share any essential materials or techniques you use when crafting.

beaded mosaic of marvel comics character Groot wearing sunglasses, American Flag background, art in black frame
Alise Philbrick art. Courtesy photo.

Many people love the completed picture regardless of what method of craft. I usually hunt and search for the perfect frame to match the product. I’ve heard that most don’t have the time or can’t see it well enough to complete these items, so now anyone can have something special.

What was the process of turning your craft from a hobby into a business?

About 10 years ago working in the medical field I was helping a resident with a puzzle and saw that she glued hers, framed them and hung them up. So I began doing that with my puzzles. Fast forward to the pandemic: Nursing was brutal and my hobby was always a good way to unwind from stress. I was working on some pattern I had picked up, and a coworker of mine asked if I could make one for her to give her grandmother for Christmas, as she did not have the patience to work with the small fabric and needle and thread. That was my first sale. Later I heard about the success and happiness it brought her grandmother and gave me the idea to offer the completed works for sale. … My fiance came up with the name for the business and has pushed me out of my comfort zone and put more time in advertising and marketing and display. For Christmas he made my first set of business cards and with enough encouragement got me to get a Facebook page and an Etsy page up.

What challenges have you encountered with your craft business and how do you deal with those?

Personal anxieties and fear, and I can only work on it while I’m not working 50 hours a week, plus I also have a 4-year-old — juggling work, home and small business life. Many artisans can sustain themselves off just their small business, but I don’t think mine has gotten to that point yet, nor am I sure I will take it to the next level or what that level might be. Also [challenging is] trying to find craft fairs to join before they are at deadline and avoiding the scammers who post fake fairs.

Kelly Mitchell of The Traveled Lane in Deerfield


Describe your craft and what makes it unique.

I actually don’t love the word ‘craft’ as it tends to make people envision kids with markers and crayons and construction paper. I prefer to use the word ‘art.’ My art is travel- and literary-inspired art, often customized and printed on functional home goods. Most often I create custom maps of places that are special to my customers and then I print these maps on coasters, drinkware or ornaments. In creating my coaster packaging I also created and patented a cork tray that allows four of my coasters to be used either individually or all together in the tray as a trivet while also being functional packaging that displays the artwork.

How did you first discover your passion for your craft?

4 coasters set as tiles to make one image of New Hampshire map.
Kelly Mitchell art. Courtesy photo.

I did not go to art school but I have a bachelor’s degree in English and I have a love for antique book stores. My husband and I would spend hours early in our marriage exploring dusty bookshelves, and it was on these trips that I began to discover the beauty in vintage maps and old book pages. So when it came to decorating our home I wanted to incorporate my love of literature and the special memories and stories of our favorite travels in our home decor. … I began drawing and painting scenes from the places we loved, sometimes including favorite book quotes to express the memories and stories that were special to us. But I wanted to display this artwork in a way that could be enjoyed in my home in a useful way to remind me of the stories of where we’ve been, who we are and what we love on a daily basis.

Walk us through your creative process and share any essential materials or techniques you use when crafting.

The first step to creating custom map artwork is to try to get as much information as possible about not only the location that my customer desires but also any special landmarks, monuments, scenery, buildings or anything else that is important to my customer. Sometimes I may include a particular quote or maybe a favorite animal from the area and of course there will also be questions about colors and styles to help me better create exactly what they have envisioned. Then I will research the area for the map requested to better get a sense of anything else that might seem special to the area. Then comes the initial drawing, which is done digitally using an iPad using a drawing app and Apple Pencil. My artwork has evolved over the years as technology has evolved. This allows me to create my art quickly and without the mess and cleanup of paint, pens, paper, but it also allows me to share my art easily digitally with customers and make changes quickly and easily if they have revisions or suggestions to better match the picture in their head.

What was the process of turning your craft from a hobby into a business?

I started creating artwork for our own house as a newly married couple and a new mom and then gave them as gifts for family and friends and then eventually realized that I could probably sell it and turn my hobby into a business that would allow me to stay at home with my children when they were little. I opened an online shop and had great success with selling directly to customers online and in person at art fairs. As the years went on I expanded to selling wholesale to local businesses and eventually all over the U.S. to gift shops, boutiques, souvenir shops and art galleries. The business has grown so much that I now sell primarily wholesale business to business.

What challenges have you encountered with your craft business and how do you deal with those?

It is always a challenge to balance work and life when working from home. My business has grown alongside my children over the years and they have had to learn that mom’s studio time is work time. The other challenge that comes with growth is sometimes needing help when my two hands are not enough. If a particularly big order demands all hands on deck, I am able to actually employ my three teen boys to help with product prep, packaging, shipping, delivery and shop maintenance tasks, which allows me more time to create the artwork and still maintain my sanity.

Linda Simpson of Phoenix Creations in Hillsboro

See and the American Legion Auxilliary Post 59 Fall Craft Fair (Nov. 4) and the Christmas Craft Fair at United Church of Penacook (Nov. 11).

Describe your craft and what makes it unique.

I make a large variety of toys, clothing, housewares and other personal and gift items. Most of the items are made primarily of repurposed and salvaged materials. I believe my craft is unique from other fabric and yarn creators because my main ‘ingredient’ is repurposed materials. I spend almost as much time locating materials to use as I do actually creating the items. The items I make are also from my own imagination more than widely accessible patterns. That’s not to say I never use commercial patterns, but I like to put my own artistic spin on the finished items.

group of stuffed toy elephants and cat dolls in colorful fabrics
Linda Simpson art. Courtesy photo.

How did you first discover your passion for your craft?

I learned to crochet when I was about 10 years old and started sewing at 12, when I took a home economics class. Once I learned to sew, there was no stopping me. I started making my clothes through high school and creating my own fashion designs. … I did some sewing work for some people in my spare time as a young adult. Once the kids came along, I would make things for them. This is really when I started repurposing clothing into new items — pretty much because that’s what the budget allowed back then. Fast forward to Covid and work furloughs that allowed time to really get back into crafting for fun again. People were looking for someone to make the masks and even the nurse and scrub hats. I had liked the idea that I could help during that time, so I would make masks and caps in exchange for some extra material. Then a sister-in-law asked me to make some pillowcase sundresses for two little girls she was fostering. She gave me more than enough material for what she needed.

Walk us through your creative process and share any essential materials or techniques you use when crafting.

Quite honestly, I’m not sure there is any method to my creative ‘madness.’ I tend to think about something I want to make next. I try to make many different things because I would get too bored if I only worked on one or two basic types of things. I might work on teddy bears for a couple weeks, then move on to tote bags and wallets for a while. I do have some basics that I always try to have in stock, such as teddy bears and tote bags. Generally I like to listen to what event customers mention — things they are looking for or ideas they think would be fun to make.

What was the process of turning your craft from a hobby into a business?

It really started snowballing when I mentioned to a few close friends that I was interested in starting a craft business. These friends had lots of scraps and leftover fabrics and yarns and some other items like bedsheets and pillowcases that they gladly gave me to get started. Remember, at that time [of Covid] lots of people were stuck in their homes and cleaning out their closest and storage areas. I spent a year creating all kinds of things — teddy bears, dolls, hats, aprons, pillows, dresses for kids and adults. … I didn’t have any idea what I was going to do with most of the things I was making. By the time craft fairs were starting up again, I thought I’d try a fair or two and see how it went. Originally I only intended to maybe earn some money back to support my hobby, but as time went on I realized it was time to transition from a hobby into a business. So I did. I still have my ‘real’ job, but now this hobby is my second almost full-time job too.

What challenges have you encountered with your craft business and how do you deal with those?

Lack of time and poor organization are probably the biggest challenges. I seem to always have multiple projects in process and have had to really learn to schedule time. When I was creating as a hobby, I didn’t really put any emphasis on when I would need to finish a piece of work. … Once I really started vending at fairs and events, I did have to schedule my time better. … I realized that I had to organize my materials and supplies better also. Too much time was spent trying to find things. … Figuring out what to charge for the items or services I offer continues to be a challenge. I have been told by friends, family and even customers that I am not charging enough, but I like to keep the prices lower. I’d prefer to see others enjoying the items I make than to have to store them away in buckets and boxes. And since I try to source my materials from things other people no longer want, I’ve been able to do this. Sometimes it is a challenge to find the right materials for something I have been commissioned to make.

Erin Sweeney of Lovely in the Home Press in Hancock


Describe your craft and what makes it unique.

Handmade artist’s books, prints, dolls. Lots of different materials and unusual combinations make it unique.

How did you first discover your passion for your craft?

When I was in third grade, I made sculptures from a scrap wood pile at my house during a barn renovation. My dad gave me a hammer and some nails and I got busy. I thought they were so great and gave them all to my mom. I was making from that point on — cards and gifts and hand-lettered signs, paper boxes, wooden paper towel holders. Art and home economics classes in middle school are where I learned to sew. When my high school guidance counselor suggested I look into art school, I couldn’t believe it. I went to Maine College of Art and majored in sculpture, and it was a life-changing experience for me.

Walk us through your creative process and share any essential materials or techniques you use when crafting.

I’m a materials ‘attacker,’ digging in, trying new things and playing with materials as inspiration. I have lots of bits around me and then I start assembling. I don’t usually have a pre-plan, but I like to play with layers and structures and then bring them together in new combinations. I do have a lot of favorite tools, and those are always with me. I have a favorite bone folder that was made by a dear friend, favorite scissors for both paper and fabric, and I have a fantastic paper cutter that made my workshop prep so much easier.

textile art hanging on wall, showing nature scene
Erin Sweeney art. Courtesy photo.

What was the process of turning your craft from a hobby into a business?

It started when I started my workshop business, teaching from my former studio in downtown Peterborough. I hadn’t been that great at selling my work, but my book arts and sculpture workshops started to do well in the years that I was there. Those successes, which led to teaching at other craft schools like Haystack and Maine Media Workshops, made me realize that I could do this more formally. I also really paid attention to what other artists and crafters were doing when I took their workshops, learning from what they were doing as well.

What challenges have you encountered with your craft business and how do you deal with those?

Accessing information around business practices, insurance needs, taxes, etc. It’s been a learning curve, but there are lots of resources available — seek them out. I hadn’t taken any business courses in college, but in grad school we talked a lot about living as an artist and business person and figured out business plans, grant writing, keeping really good records and being a part of your community. There have been a lot of people in my area who offer advice and their experience for me to learn from, and it’s been really helpful. My focus now is to try to find some new venues to sell my work. I recently moved my studio to Hancock and was confronted by just how much stuff I have and have made. Time to move it on!

Craft & artisan fairs

It’s craft fair season! Find craft and holiday fairs most weekends now through mid-December-ish. Here are some of the fairs on the schedule. If you know of a craft fair, let us know at

Fall Craft Fair agt the American Legion Auxilliary Post 59 (538 W. Main St. in Hillsborough) will take place Saturday, Nov. 4, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• The 23rd Annual Merrimack KofC Craft Fair is on Friday, Nov. 3, from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Mastricola Upper Elementary School (26 Baboosic Lake Road, Merrimack). The fair will host more than 40 crafters showcasing a diverse array of handmade crafts. Admission to the event is free. Visit

• The Tilton Silver Bells Craft Fair is on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tanger Outlets (120 Laconia Road, Tilton). The fair will host more than 90 arts and crafts exhibitors showcasing a wide variety of items including chainsaw wood carvings, cedar wood furniture, hand-painted glassware, maple syrups, pottery, leather jewelry, gourmet foods, children’s toys, and much more. Attendees can also enjoy demonstrations, face painting and a selection of gourmet foods. The event is set to proceed rain or shine with free admission. Visit

• The Shop Til You Drop Craft Fair Fundraiser is on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the James W. Foley Memorial Community Center (150 Wakefield St., Rochester). This event is hosted by the Granite State Choral Society, a community-based non-auditioned singing group. Attendees can browse a range of items from local crafters and vendors, including jewelry, artwork, knit/crochet items, soaps, ornaments, essential oils, jams, cosmetics, sweet treats and more. Admission is free, with no tickets required. Visit

• The Hampstead Craft Fair is on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hampstead Middle School (School Street, Hampstead). The fair will feature nearly 80 crafters and artists presenting and selling their creations. Attendees can also expect children’s activities and food options. Visit

• The Raymond Fall Craft Fair is on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Raymond High School Cafeteria and Gymnasium (45 Harriman Hill Road, Raymond). More than 50 vendors will be present offering items such as jewelry, artwork, bath and beauty products, candles, ceramics, pottery, woodworking, clothing and more. Additionally, attendees can explore a range of crafts including crochet, embroidery, knitting, needlecraft and quilts as well as dolls, miniatures, furniture, housewares, paper goods, photography, vintage items, toys, books and accessories. Admission and parking are both free. Visit

• The Northwood Holiday Craft Fair is on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Gerrish Gym at Coe-Brown Northwood Academy (907 First NH Turnpike, Northwood). The fair will host an array of crafters and artisans selling a variety of wares. Visit

• The Goffstown Fall Craft Fair is on Saturday, Nov. 4, and Sunday, Nov. 5, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day at the Mountain View Middle School (41 Lauren Lane, Goffstown). Attendees will find a variety of crafters and vendors selling their wares. A food truck will be on site. Admission is $3, with children under 12 entering for free. Visit

• The Girl Scout Craft Fair is on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Bedford Presbyterian Church (4 Church Road, Bedford). Explore a range of crafts and support the local Girl Scouts.

• Star Events Fall Into the Holidays Craft & Vendor Fair will take place Saturday, Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hudson Memorial School. See

The Craftworkers’ Guild in Bedford (5 Meetinghouse Road in Bedford, the building at the bottom of the library parking lot; will open a Veterans Day Weekend pop-up shop Friday, Nov. 10, through Sunday, Nov. 12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily as well as online.

• The St. Ignatius Spirit of Christmas Fair will be held on Friday, Nov. 10, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 11, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish Holy Trinity Church (404 High St. in Somersworth) featuring sales by artisans, a penny sale, raffles, jewelry, a cookie carousel, baked goods, Christmas decorations and more, according to the church bulletin available via

• The Pleasant View Retirement Community (270 Pleasant St. in Concord) will hold an indoor craft fair on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. featuring baked goods, handmade items and more, according to a Facebook post

• The Bow Snowman Fair is on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bow Mills United Methodist Church (505 South St., Bow) featuring crafts and handmade goods as well as food.Visit

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church (335 Smyth Road in Manchester) will hold a craft fair on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with crafts, a cookie walk, a bake sale, a children’s table and more, according to a press release.

• The Gilford Fall Craft Fair is on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Gilford Youth Center (19 Potter Hill Road, Gilford). The event will feature more than 50 vendors. Concessions will be available. Admission is free. Visit

Memorial High School (1 Crusader Way in Manchester) will hold a craft fair Saturday, Nov. 11, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to posts by participants.

• The United Church of Penacook (21 Merrimack St.) will hold its Christmas Craft Fair Saturday, Nov. 11, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. See

• The Meredith Holiday Craft Fair is on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church (300 Route 25, Meredith). Visitors can explore a wide range of unique crafts and one-of-a-kind homemade gifts. Visit

• Pure Springs Church in Raymond and the RayFre Senior Center (64 Main St. in Raymond) will hold a Christmas Craft Fair on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the center.

• The Seacoast Artisans Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Show will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11, at Great Bay Community College at the Pease Trade Port in Portsmouth. Admission costs $6 (kids 14 and under get in for free). See

• Saint Kathryn Parish (4 Dracut Road in Hudson; will hold its annual Christmas Bazaar and Penny Sale on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The fair will include raffles, bake sale, crafts, a scavenger hunt and photos with Santa, according to the website.

• The Bedford Handmade Fair is on Sunday, Nov. 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bedford High School (47B Nashua Road, Bedford). The event will host local artists and artisans selling one-of-a-kind products and unique holiday gifts. Admission is free. Visit

• Thorton’s Ferry School (134 Camp Sargent Road in Merrimack; 889-1577) will hold its 41st Holiday Craft Fair with more than 80 crafters and vendors on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a raffle room and silent auction, concession cafe, bake sale and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., according to

Lil Iguana ( will hold its annual craft fair at Nashua High School North (8 Titan Way) on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free and the event features more than 100 crafters, vendors and area businesses as well as raffles, according to the website.

• The 12th annual Meredith Community Holiday Craft Fair is on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Meredith Community Center (One Circle Drive, Meredith). The event will showcase more than 30 vendors with crafts as well as a bake sale, slow cooker luncheon items for sale, raffles and more. Visit

• Deerfield’s Holiday Craft Fair will take place Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Deerfield Community Church (15 Church St.), according to

• The Hampton Holly Berry Fair is on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Trinity Episcopal Church (200 High St., Hampton). Visit

St. Patrick Church (34 Amherst St. in Milford) will hold a craft fair Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition to crafts, the event will include a silent auction, a raffle, a bake sale and food concessions, according to

• The First Parish Church (47 E. Derry Road in Derry; 434-0628) will hold its annual Sugar Plum Fair Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to The day will include live music, lunch, a white elephant sale, raffles and a cookie walk, according to a church Facebook post.

• The 44th annual Bow PTO Craft Fair is on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bow High School (55 Falcon Way, Bow). The event will host more than 150 artists displaying and selling their unique handmade artwork and crafts. Admission is $5. Visit

• The Hampstead Christmas Fair is on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at PhanZone Sports Center (142 Route 111, Hampstead). The event will feature more than 100 vendors selling a variety of items. Visit

• The Great New England Holiday Arts and Crafts Show is on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 19, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Rim Sports Complex (311 Winnacunnet Road, Hampton). Shop more than 125 local specialty food vendors, craftsmen and artisans showcasing their handmade products. The event will also feature holiday music, door prizes, demos, food samples, food trucks and holiday cocktails. Visit

• The Portsmouth Holiday Arts Tour will take place at seven Portsmouth studios featuring 15 artists on Saturday, Nov. 18, and Sunday, Nov. 19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Find the map at

• The Salem Holiday Psychic and Craft Fair is on Sunday, Nov. 19, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Derry-Salem Elks No. 2226 (39 Shadow Lake Road, Salem). The event will feature more than 30 vendors, including readers, crafters and artists. Discover unique hand-crafted gifts, psychic readings, healing, aura photography and more. Visit

• The Peterborough Holiday Craft Fair is on Sunday, Nov. 19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Conval High School Gym (184 Hancock Road, Peterborough). Visit

The Craftworkers’ Guild in Bedford (5 Meetinghouse Road in Bedford, the building at the bottom of the library parking lot; will open its annual Holiday Fair Shop Friday, Nov. 24, through Wednesday, Dec. 22, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily as well as online.

• The Exeter Holiday Parade Committee will present a craft fair on Saturday, Nov. 25, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Exeter Town Hall, both floors, according to the organizer’s Facebook post. See

• The Nashua Holiday Stroll Craft Fair is on Saturday, Nov. 25, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Gym Entrance on Main Street across from City Hall (29 Spring St., Nashua). Visit

• The Milford Holiday Craft Fair, benefiting veterans, is on Sunday, Nov. 26, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Milford VFW (1 VFW Way, Milford). Santa and the Grinch will be available for free pictures. The fair will host numerous crafters and vendors. Admission is free. Visit

• The Contoocook Artisans Holiday Fair will take place Friday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the American Legion Post No. 81 (E.R. Montgomery Event Center, 169 Bound Tree Road in Contoocook). Contact

• High Mowing School (77 Pine Hill Drive, Wilton) holds its annual Pine Hill holiday fair with an artisan market for adults on Friday, Dec. 1, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. and family festivities on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit

• The Winter Giftopolis by the Concord Arts Market will be on Friday, Dec. 1, from 5 to 11 p.m. during Intown Concord’s Midnight Merriment, at the Atrium at 7 Eagle Square. See

• The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Milford (20 Elm St. in Milford; will hold a holiday fair on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring handcrafted items, a bake shop and more, according to

• Arlington Street United Methodist Church (63 Arlington St., Nashua;, 882-4663) holds its Holly Town Fair Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring vendors with handmade items, crafts, candies, baked goods and a cookie walk and lunches from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., according to the website.

• The Amherst Lions Club holds its Craft Fair Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Amherst Middle School (14 Cross Road), according to

• The Somersworth Festival Association will host a Holiday Craft Fair on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Somersworth High School (11 Memorial Drive in Somersworth) according to

• The 34th annual Christmas in Strafford, an event featuring 29 locations and more than 50 artists and craftspeople, runs Saturday, Dec. 2, and Sunday, Dec. 3, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days; see the map at

• The Unitarian Universalist Church of Manchester (669 Union St. in Manchester; will hold its annual Holiday Gift Faire on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Star Events Holiday Craft & Vendor Fair will take place Saturday, Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Tabernacle Baptist Church (Route 102 on the Hudson/Litchfield line).

• The Concord Arts Market is hosting its annual Holiday Arts Market on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kimball Jenkins School of Art (266 N. Main St.). See

• Caya Reiki & Healing ( will hold a Gingerbread Craft Market & Psychic Fair on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Derry-Salem Elks Lodge (39 Shadow Lake Road in Salem) featuring more than 30 vendors and artisans, according to the website.

• New England Vendor Events will host a Nashua Holiday Craft Fair on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hunt Memorial Library in Nashua, according to a post at

• The Grinnell School PTA will hold a Holiday Craft Fair at Grinnell Elementary School (6 Grinnell Road in Derry) on Saturday, Dec. 2, from noon to 4 p.m., according to a PTA facebook post.

• The Bishop Brady Craft Fair will take place Saturday, Dec. 9, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bishop Brady High School (25 Columbus Ave. in Concord). See

• Head to the DoubleTree Hilton (2 Somerset Plaza, Nashua) for the Holly Jolly Craft Fair on Saturday, Dec. 9, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be more than 75 artisans there selling their holiday wares. Visit

• The New Hampshire Audubon’s Holiday Craft Fair will take place on Saturday, Dec. 9, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the NH Audubon McLane Center (84 Silk Farm Road in Concord;

• The Very Merry Holiday Gift Festival will take place Saturday, Dec. 9, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown Hotel (700 Elm St. in Manchester), according to Admission to the event, a revamping of the Made in New England Expo, costs $7 ($6 for 65+ and kids 14 and under get in free).

• Caya Reiki & Healing ( will hold a Winter Wonderland Craft Market & Psychic Fair on Saturday, Dec. 9, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hooksett American Legion Post 37 (5 Riverside St. in Hooksett), according to the website.

• The Wrong Brain Holidaze Bizaare ( will take place Saturday, Dec. 9, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at North Country Hard Cider (38 Littleworth Road in Dover). Admission costs $1, according to the Facebook post.

• New England Vendor Events will host a Hudson Holiday Craft Fair on Saturday, Dec. 9, from noon to 5 p.m., according to a post at

• The Nashua Holiday Craft & Vendor Festival Fair will be held Saturday, Dec. 16, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Eagles Wing BingoHall at 10 Spruce St. in Nashua, according to the Bazaar Craft Fairs Facebook post.

• New England Vendor Events will host a Manchester Holiday Craft Fair on Saturday, Dec. 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Club Canadian (128 S. Main St. in Manchester) featuring pictures with Santa and the Grinch, according to a post at

Featured Photo: Courtesy photo.

This Week 23/11/02

Big Events November 2, 2023 and beyond

Thursday, Nov. 2

It’s the final weekend to catch the musical Kinky Boots at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St. in Manchester;, 668-5588). The show plays tonight at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 3, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 4, at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 5, at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $28 to $49.

Thursday, Nov. 2

At tonight’s Art After Work at the Currier Museum of Art (150 Ash St. in Manchester;, 669-6144) the live entertainment is Trivia Live! With Bill Seney. Art After Work runs from 5 to 8 p.m., when admission is donation-based.

Friday, Nov. 3

Discover the art of presidential impersonation at Playing POTUS, a multi-media show with Peter Funt (who has a book of the same name) featuring clips, interviews and more tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Dana Center (Saint Anselm College, 100 Saint Anselm Drive in Manchester; Tickets cost $45.

Friday, Nov. 3

The curtain rises tonight at 8 p.m. on the first of Bedford Off Broadway’s presentations of The Curious Savage, the story of an elderly widow who plans to give away her multimillion-dollar inheritance to people pursuing “foolish dreams” over the objections of her stepchildren, according to The show runs through Sunday, Nov. 12, with shows at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets cost $15 general admission, $12 for children, students and seniors.

Saturday, Nov. 4

From Little Richard and Buddy Holly to the stars of MTV, explore Neil Burg’s 50 Years of Rock and Roll tonight at 7 p.m. at the Stockbridge Theatre (44 N. Main St. in Derry; Tickets cost $30 to $35.

Save the Date! Friday, Nov. 10
Symphony NH will perform Wynton Marsalis’ “A Fiddler’s Tale” with guest artist Danny Rivera as narrator at three venues next week starting on Friday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m. at the Stockbridge Theatre (Pinkerton Academy, 5 Pinkerton St. in Derry; The performance will move to the Rex Theatre (23 Amherst St. in Manchester; on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, Nov. 12, at 3 p.m., catch the performance at the Bank of NH Stage (16 S. Main St., Concord). The piece is a modern interpretation of Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale” that integrates blues, jazz, tangos, rags, waltzes and classical music to narrate a contemporary story about love, greed and Faustian deals, according to Symphony NH. See for ticket information.

Featured photo: Kinky Boots. Photo by AnnMarie Lidman Photography.

Quality of Life 23/11/02

Volunteer spirit

Seventy volunteers and nonprofits were honored at Volunteer NH’s 20th Spirit of NH Awards in Concord for their exceptional community service, according to a press release. Hosted by WMUR’s Sean McDonald and Erin Fehlau and streamed by ConcordTV, the ceremony recognized individuals and groups in various categories. Notable awardees included Sophia Day from Girl Scouts, Dana Hedrick from the Animal Rescue League, and the Concord Hospital End of Life Volunteer Program. Special mentions included Justin Vanasse, who received the Spirit of NH Award for resource work at Southern New Hampshire University, Doug Moorhead with a Lifetime Achievement Award for 30 years of service to Special Olympics, and Kari Karwedsky, the People’s Choice Award recipient for her work with FIRST Robotics. Volunteer NH, based in Concord, champions community-building through volunteerism in New Hampshire.

QOL score: +1

Comment: “Volunteers are the backbone of our communities,” said Gretchen Stallings, Executive Director of Volunteer NH, in the release.

Future teachers

Bedford Academy is joining forces with Southern New Hampshire University to offer its students an enhanced educational experience and pave the way for future educators, according to a press release. Aspiring teachers from SNHU will join Bedford Academy’s classrooms, acquiring hands-on experience. This partnership give teacher candidates a chance to develop their skills in a real-world setting.

QOL score: +1

Comment: Bedford Academy, a private STEAM-inspired elementary school.

Safe walking

In observance of October’s Pedestrian Safety Awareness Month, a study by Bumper highlighted the rise in pedestrian fatalities across the U.S. However, New Hampshire stands out, reporting the lowest death rate of the 50 states with 0.58 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 population in 2021, making it the safest state for pedestrians in the country. Additionally, the Granite State has seen a reduction in fatalities over recent years, from 10 in 2019 to 8 in 2021, marking a 39.58 percent decline.

QOL score: 0 (because while NH is in a good position comparatively, any pedestrian death or injury is too much)

Comment: Experts emphasized a few key precautions to prevent pedestrian accidents: pedestrians should use crosswalks, don reflective gear at night, and avoid distractions like texting. Drivers, especially those in SUVs, should yield to walkers, obey speed limits, and avoid alcohol and device distractions.

Clock o’clock

Sunday, Nov. 5, marks the end of daylight saving time. We all officially “fall back” at 2 a.m.

QOL score: –2

Comments: Because “yay” for the extra hour of sleep on Sunday but “boo” for having to remember how to access the clocks on your non-smart appliances, for the general approaching-winter post-work-day darkness and for changing clocks twice a year at all.

QOL score: 91
Net change: 0
QOL this week: 91

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire?
Let us know at

C’s start strong

The Big Story – Celtics Get Started: The NBA season kicked off last week with great expectations for the local five. After an off-season of major changes, the new-look Celtics are among the favorites to win it all.

First they’d have to get by Milwaukee, who had a major renovation by acquiring Damian Lillard and saying goodbye to Jrue Holiday (which will hurt more than they think) in a trade with Portland. To which the Celtics said thanks very much when Holiday was flipped to them a few days later.

Then comes defending champ Denver and reconfigured Kevin Durant-led Phoenix out west.

It started well with newbie Kristaps Porzingis pulling their bacon out of the fire with a big fourth quarter in the opening-day win over New York at MSG. Two nights later new starter Derrick White was the man with 28 vs. Miami at home.

All of which suggests an interesting season lies ahead.

Sports 101: Who’s the all-time leading scorer in NBA Finals?

News Item – Strength: They arguably now have the best six-player group in the league. And while I loved (most) of what Marcus Smart did, it was clear at the end of last year White was not only the consistently better player but also the better on ball defender. And while his toughness was invaluable, it was time for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to become the top leadership dogs.

News Item – Concerns – The Bench: These also were revealed in Game 1, when the bench gave them nothing (four points) in 33 minutes. And while Payton Pritchard could be ready for a bigger role, better consistency is paramount and answers for everywhere else are not obvious. So in some ways the season rides on whether Pritchard and Sam Hauser can exceed low expectations and someone (anyone) can emerge as a reliable big off the bench.

News Item – The New Guys: Besides the obvious (needed size up front), by going for33 vs. the Knicks with a strong inside defensive/shot blocking presence and surprisingly tough rebounding, Porzingis demonstrated in Game 1 what he can do — if he remains healthy.

The real surprise was seeing Holiday play a 6’9” bull like Julius Randle all night as he shot 4 for 22 in scoring just 14 points. That was impressive toughness.

The Numbers:

0, 4, 7, 8, 9 – Am I the only one who noticed Celtics starters Tatum, Holiday, Brown, Porzingis and White all have single digits on their jerseys? That’s a first in team history?

Random Thoughts:

I know he’s two years away from free agency, but the Celtics may rue the day they didn’t get White signed to an extensionby last week’s deadline.

I do love seeing Jalen Brunson, who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else Dallas owner Mark Cuban let walk to NY, ranked 32nd ahead of Kyrie Irving’s 34 in ESPN’s Top 100 Players. All while making $10 million less per than Cuban pays the overrated, team-killing Kyrie.

Continuing on with those ESPN’s Top 100 rankings. The guy who had Grant Williams, who wasn’t even in the Celtics’ regular rotation from March on, rated over the not-ranked Horford and Brogdon must be on some really strong recreational medication.

Porzingis at 62, Klay Thompson at 41, Holiday at 23 and Brown at 19 seem lower-ranked than they should. I’ve got JB cracking the Top 15.

Sports 101 Answer: L.A. Laker Jerry West is the NBA Finals top scorer with 1,679 points, followed by LeBron James (1,562) and Kareem Abdul Jabbar (1,317).

Final Thoughts – The Blockbuster Deals: I loved the Porzingis-Smart trade immediately. But not so much with the Portland deal. And it isn’t because by giving up Rob Williams, Sixth Man of the Year Malcolm Brogdon and two first picks they overpaid for a 33-year-old point guard. It’s that they did so at the expense of their depth because it gives them zero insurance against a big injury to the not durable Porzingis and in the second game of the 12 back-to-back games Horford will not play in. But even more so after finding the long-term replacement for the 38-year-old Horford, it put them right back in the same position of needing to find his replacement with less trade material and more salary cap obstacles than before.

Brad Stevens hasn’t missed on one deal yet, so he gets the benefit of the doubt. But the feeling that gnaws at me is he’s taking a big long- and short-term risk to go for it right now over maybe having both without the second trade.

Email Dave Long at

News & Notes 23/11/02

NH efforts

After a shooting in Lewiston, Maine, which resulted in 18 fatalities, New Hampshire’s Department of Safety actively monitored the situation and provided significant assistance, according to a press release. The state dispatched its SWAT team, shuttled blood donations and offered other critical resources. Maine authorities led a manhunt for the suspect, who was later found deceased in a trailer at a former workplace. Gov. Chris Sununu issued the following statement: “Grateful for the efforts of Maine State Police who led the manhunt to bring closure to this challenging search. Thanks to the men and women of our own New Hampshire State Police for their tireless assistance. It is time for the communities in Maine to heal and I hope the families of this tragic situation can heal in peace.”

Biden write-in

In an unprecedented move, New Hampshire Democrats, including numerous state lawmakers and prominent figures like filmmaker Ken Burns, have initiated a write-in campaign supporting President Joe Biden for the state’s presidential primary, NHPR reported. This comes after Biden opted not to list his name on the New Hampshire ballot, following the Democratic National Committee’s decision to prioritize South Carolina as the first primary state. The “Write-In Biden” website guides voters on the write-in process and critiques the DNC’s decision as “misguided.” Despite Biden’s notable lead in local Democratic polls, Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips has entered the fray, emphasizing the younger generation’s desire for alternative nominees. The write-in initiative marks a historic moment, as campaigns of this nature targeting a sitting president during the New Hampshire primary have never occurred before, according to the article.


U.S. Attorney Jane E. Young has announced the appointment of Tiffany Scanlon as an Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) to handle domestic terrorism and violent crimes in the District of New Hampshire. AUSA Scanlon brings with her a wealth of experience from her tenure since 2012 at the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office, where she worked in various units, including the Major Felony and Gang Units. Throughout her career she has prosecuted numerous severe criminal cases, such as homicides and armed robberies. In May 2023 the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Hampshire was allocated two new attorney positions, with one focused on Civil Rights yet to be filled.

School security

The New Hampshire Department of Education has opened its third round of applications for the Security Action for Education (SAFE) grants program, according to a press release. This program will allocate $10 million to district and public charter schools to bolster school security, with a focus on enhancing access control, emergency alerting, and surveillance. Although $13.9 million has been awarded in previous rounds, schools that haven’t received grants before will be given priority in this round. Applications can be submitted to the Public School Infrastructure Commission, and the maximum award for any school will not surpass $100,000. Award decisions will likely be made in the first quarter of 2024.


U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan honored Dr. Reiko Johnson of Newfields and Dr. Nathan Swanson of Durham as October’s Granite Staters of the Month for their contributions to the community, according to a press release. Dr. Johnson founded Volunteers in Medicine of New Hampshire (VIM-NH) to cater to uninsured and underinsured patients. Recognizing a need for dental care among these patients, she collaborated with Dr. Swanson to organize VIM-NH’s inaugural Dental Day of Caring. The event witnessed volunteer dentists providing 19 extractions, 10 fillings and one root canal, donating services worth $11,531. Sen. Hassan’s “Granite Stater of the Month” initiative acknowledges remarkable New Hampshire residents for their community contributions.

FEMA funds

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded New Hampshire more than $26 million in reimbursements for Covid-19-related costs, according to a press release. Of this, a grant of $24,410,106 will be directed to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services for staffing vaccination sites, having facilitated the vaccination of around 36,727 vulnerable individuals. Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital will receive $1,770,931 to cover expenses tied to a Covid-19 testing system and related public service announcements. In addition, the state will receive nearly $1.4 million for renting and operating warehouse space from April 2020 to July 2022, which stored and distributed essential Covid-19 supplies. To date, FEMA’s Public Assistance program has reimbursed New Hampshire more than $286 million for pandemic expenses.

In Pembroke, more than 50 “No Coal No Gas” activists rallied by the Merrimack River, urging Granite Shore Power to transition from coal to solar energy at the Merrimack Station. Several were arrested after clashing with Bow Police on trespassing claims.

The Greater Manchester Chamber (GMC) reports that more than 20 nonprofits will participate in the “Find Your Cause” event organized by the Manchester Young Professionals (MYP). Presented by Southern New Hampshire University, this event, scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 29, at the Rex Theatre, aims to connect young professionals in Manchester with nonprofit leaders and opportunities. Attendees will have the chance to interact directly with each organization before the nonprofits present their two-minute pitches. Registration is available on Eventbrite, and nonprofits interested in joining can contact the GMC for more information.

The Nashua Public Library will host a Veterans Day celebration on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Chandler Wing, according to a press release. Inspired by a previous Salute to Service display, this year’s event will feature live music, miniature military vehicle displays and a preview of a WWII oral history project. Attendees can engage in crafting buttons and cards for veterans. Veteran organizations will be present to provide resources. Visit

Stay in the loop!

Get FREE weekly briefs on local food, music,

arts, and more across southern New Hampshire!