If you’re looking to put some extra merry into someone else’s Christmas, Santa Mouse Christmas House might be a good bet.

The 15th annual event hosted by the Blount County Arts and Crafts Guild will take place Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 5-7, at Fairview Baptist Church in Maryville. It is designed as a one-stop shopping extravaganza. Everything you will find here has been hand-crafted by a member of the guild.

Jennifer Hedrick, who has worked on publicity for the past few years, said Santa Mouse Christmas House will feature 56 vendors. Of those, 10 will be first-timers.

One of them is David Brett, who will share his talents in woodworking. He’s designed and created wooden birdhouses, but not the traditional kind.

“Square is boring,” the artisan said. His are anything but. He has a curved design and integrates different types of wood. The intricate design requires a long list of saws and other tools; the finished product will turn heads.

“Most people don’t put these outdoors,” the maker explained. “They place them on a mantle.”

Brett also makes wooden pens, dog riser bowl sets and a second birdhouse design, one with two levels.

He and his wife live in Wears Valley and moved here from Illinois.

He used to be a long-haul trucker.

Woodworking is something he’s done for 30 years.

The Bretts joined the Blount County Arts and Crafts Guild back in January. He said the guild’s reputation is what attracted him. There are so many gifted members, he said.

Painter Maxine Falls can attest to that as well. She has been in the guild longer than most, for 25 years.

She’s also been a part of the Santa Mouse event every year.

Watercolors grabbed her attention decades ago, but Falls said she has never stopped exploring new techniques. One example is her delving into metal as a canvas. She hammers out sheets of aluminum and copper into works of art.

“My reputation says, ‘Don’t stand still or she will paint on you,’” Falls said.

She also has tried scratch painting.

That involves taking a black canvas and scratching out a subject. One of hers was of an owl.

Painting on feathers and leaves is a pastime, too. Falls will have several examples of all that she’s delving into, at the show and sale.

The guild, Falls said, has come a long way. When it first got its start, members were meeting in a grocery store, the J&K, she said. That was their display space. It was about 1963, Falls estimated.

Carolyn Weisenberger and Pandora Burnett are among the first-timers to the show. The cousins have been getting together for years to sew and catch up on life. They decided to step it up a notch and create quilts and other items to sell.

This will be their first show together. Weisenberger lives in Blount County, and Burnett in Anderson County.

Need some expertly sewn clothing for 18-inch dolls?

They can do that. They also make picnic blankets and pillows.

They’ve had much practice over the years.

The guild has done everything it can to get the word out about the event. Hedrick said she went to the Greenback Post Office to purchase 1,600 post card stamps for the publicity for Santa Mouse.

The clerk was hesitant to make the order, not quite believing Hedrick could possibly need that many.

She did. And the post cards went out. Those, along with emails meant 2,200 households have been notified.

Santa Claus will make an appearance from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. As always, there will be plenty of artisans and crafters on hand to share their talents for the three-day event. It’s a nice group of people to hang out with, these guild members said.

Melanie joined The Daily Times in the early 90s and has served as the Life section editor since 1993. A William Blount and UT alum, Melanie is generally the early arriver who turns on the lights in the newsroom.

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