After Dee Holloway, of Kaufman, retired from her job as a state worker, she decided to try soap making, using goat’s milk as a primary ingredient.
“I had a recipe from my great-great-grandmother,” she said. “It (hobby) moved from the kitchen to the breakfast room, and then my breakfast room turned into a factory … now I have 23 goats.”
When she’s not tending to her goats, she’s making delicately scented soap and selling it under the name Holloway Crafts.
“From the goat’s milk to the finished product, it takes about an hour,” she said, displaying one of about a dozen different designs. “I love doing it. It still amazes me how they (soap bars) can come out in different shapes and figures and still be good for you.”
Milk that doesn’t wind up in soap is used for other purposes, such as making ice cream.
“It makes great gravy,” she said. “It’s really rich.”
Ms. Holloway was one of about 57 vendors attending Tyler Parks and Recreation’s fourth annual Christmas in July Arts and Crafts Fair at the Tyler Rose Garden, 420 Rose Park Drive.
The event began Saturday and continues from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., today offering unique and fun items for sale, organizers said.
Special Events Manager Debbie Isham said there was such a demand for vendor space she had to turn people away.
“We’re hoping between 4,500 and 5,000 people will show up this year,” she said. “The fact that it’s not 100 degree-plus weather will help more people get out of the house and come to the sale.”
Along with the anticipated higher than normal turnout, Ms. Isham said this weekend’s event seemed to be bringing out both shoppers and their pocketbooks.
“People are buying,” she said. “Just about everyone is carrying a bag.”
Lynn Solis, a Tyler crafter operating as Lynn’s Handy Work, showed up with a booth overflowing with items for the home, from baby blankets to aprons.
Many creations were hand crocheted or featured intricate stitching.
“I like doing this show because this one is indoors and I can do it in the summer,” Ms. Solis said. “I had this same exact spot last year and did pretty good… it’s the best sale of the year.”
The acclaimed artist uses combinations of wood, stone and shells to create detailed images that he routinely displays around the United States and abroad.
The artist said his mother and grandfather were both artists. He finds inspiration from imagination then transfers it to canvas.
“This is my life,” he said. “This is not a job, not a hobby. It’s my life.”
Shoppers seemed pleased with the variety of items available for sale.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Sarah Howard, a Chandler resident, said. “It’s been amazing talking with the other crafters. The vendors are all so friendly and they are happy to tell you about their work.”
Ms. Howard snagged artwork for her two grown sons, one of whom serves as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army.
Her shopping buddy, Benni Brown, also from Chandler, purchased a silver necklace.
“This is a girl’s day out,” a grinning Ms. Brown said, surveying the other items available for sale. “We’re having a great time.”
Miss Kupcha is interning at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, but regularly attends University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
Her mother, Rush Kupcha, is visiting this week from Hawaii.
The pair was found registering for a chance to win one of several gifts offered in exchange for a donation to Tyler Parks and Recreation.
“I love Tyler,” Miss Kupcha said. “Everyone is so friendly. It’s a lot better than Dallas.”
Her mother agreed.
“When we saw the (rose) garden, it reminded me of Hawaii, it’s beautiful and it’s free,” Ms. Kupcha said. “That’s amazing.”
Apparently even more fantastic was the deal she made on a handmade sweater.
“It’s so cute,” Ms. Kupcha said, grinning widely. “I just had to buy it.”