Saturday’s 23rd Annual Holiday Home Tour and Boutique was a huge success. Hosted by Pine Needles Quilt Guild, the event took place at five different homes, including the “Cookie House.” Each home is decorated for Christmas, and adorned with a dozen or more handmade quilts. While most of the quilts are the creations of local quilters, some are heirlooms with their own rich histories to tell. Homes on the tour this year were spread out from the east end of town to the west. Guests maneuvered through minor traffic jams at the homes located in-between, as most had started at 11 a.m. at one end or the other, and converged on the houses in the middle at the same time. The Refreshment House, or Cookie House, was as always a delight. Homemade goodies and hot cider are served while guests sit by the fire and listen to John Burcher play carols on the guitar. This year, one of the homes had a different craft on display, aside from the quilts. Robert Linthicum worked his commercial embroidery machine, making personalized polo shirts for a customer. As colorful and creative as the quilts on display, the threads and embroidery patterns made a nice addition to the tour of handcrafts. The recently remodeled Gawryluk home was a treat for those who had seen it before the renovations. The open family room was warm inviting, and the quilts were a lovely accent. Alex Peterson, ChemoWize founder, offered her beautiful log home on the east side of town for this year’s tour. With its vaulted ceiling and 270º decks and views, the home was a spectacular showcase for holiday décor and quilts. Keyboard Art Studios founder Chet Knoll and his wife Joyce Wonderly made special improvements, to enhance their home, and the tour. Joyce whispered, “Chet wanted to host the tour this year, so I told him we could, if he built a deck on the back!” Adding to the Christmas theme and atmosphere, musicians from the music school played carols in the music room all day. Among the performers were Stephanie Santos-Owens – Soprano, Gayle Dowling - Guitar and Voice, Jerry Ripley - Harp and Harpsichord, Rodger Whitten – Piano and Chet Noll – Piano. Whitten’s enthusiasm was so infectious, some of the guests who gathered to listen began to sing along. Not to be missed during the tour, is the craft boutique. Held at the Wrightwood community Building, the boutique features a variety of handmade crafts for sale. From Christmas ornaments to quilts, washcloths, and jewelry, the boutique offers something for everyone. Plan to attend the Holiday Home Tour next year, first Saturday in December. You will not be disappointed.
Smoketree Junction A Shoppers Delight
By Michael Palecki
Throughout the past year, Smoketree Junction Antiques in Pinon Hills has steadily enlarged with the return of owner/operator Sandi Hemingway. The monthly flea market on the first Saturday now features more than 50 vendors and attracts hundreds of shoppers. Continuing through the first weekend in the permanent buildings, Haggle Days give shoppers a chance to bargain for the best price on antiques and collectables. The retail campus now includes the Antique Studio, Furniture Box showroom, Native Plant Nursery & Garden, Main Building, Precious Junk Shop, and Garden House for indoor plants. Future expansion plans include a Trailer Court cul-de-sac featuring vintage travel trailers as separate shops. In order to keep her shops filled with fabulous items, Hemingway periodically drives to Oklahoma on shopping excursions in a recycled Frito Lay delivery van that she calls her Tin Shed. She recently purchased a 100-year old warehouse in Meeker Oklahoma that is being restored to accommodate more things purchased at estate sale auctions. Meanwhile in Pinon Hills, the latest addition is the Garden House constructed by Ken Hartley and operated by his wife Shreen. The post and beam structure with inset antique door and window glass panels creates an excellent greenhouse for a wide selection of indoor plants, and garden accessories upcycled into object d’art items. Nestles in the plant nursery and garden, the Furniture Box is a single-wide mobile home converted into a showroom for vintage and contemporary furniture, antique foot- pedaled sewing machines and many more intriguing items. When Hemingway is on the road, Rhonda Harbour is the in-charge person at Smoketree Junction. Last Saturday, both ladies appeared to be having a great time with Harbour exclaiming, “We are all about fun here.” Moments later a customer remarked, “This is an amazing place!” And Smoketree Junction Antiques is truly that. For the best antiques, collectables, indoor and outdoor plants, consignment sales and estate sale coordinating, contact Hemingway or Harbour at (760) 868-8806. Smoketree Junction Antiques is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and is located at 815 Highway 138 in Downtown Pinon Hills next door to the new Dollar General. Saturday morning, hundreds of local residents braved cold temperatures to attend the Grand Opening of the recently constructed Dollar General store located next to Smoketree Junction on Highway 138. As part of the celebration, the first 100 adults in line received a $10 gift card while a total of 200 received reusable Dollar General shopping bags filled with consumer household items. While shoppers waited for the door to open at 8:00 am, they received free coffee and donuts. For those who came later on, there was a picnic lunch with free hot dogs and popcorn. Everyone who attended received an entry form for the grand opening sweepstakes that included a DVD player, a CD player, gift baskets and other prizes.
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