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Middlefield – Come visit Vancura Gallery at 14279 Old State Road, Middlefield during our 4th annual Christmas in the Country on Friday and Saturday December 3rd and 4th and 10th and 11th. The lineup this year includes: Amish feather painter Ben Miller, music duo Amy Timco and her father Jeff Hise, well-known published area artist Florian Lawton, candle smoke artist Laura Fields, and Somerset-published artist James Seward. These artists will be available for meet-and-greet, sales, and demonstrations.

Purchase your raffle ticket for a chance to win a dinner for two at Mary Yoder’s Amish Kitchen, a sleigh ride for two from Ma and Pa’s gift shack, and an overnight stay at the Red Maple Inn. Ticket price is $3.00 per ticket. Raffle tickets are also for sale for a custom framed giclee Christmas print painted by Greenwich Workshop artist Paul Landry. This art piece is valued at $500. Ticket price are $1.00 per ticket or 10 for $5.00.

All this money goes to two Middlefield Police Charities which are: Shop with a Cop and Middlefield Cares! (the area food cupboard) Refreshments, Christmas fun, artists, raffles, live Christmas carols  and unique Christmas gifts will be available at Vancura Gallery during Christmas in the Country.  Enjoy old-fashion friendly service, no long lines and plenty of parking, and smiles

Call Vancura Gallery at (440) 632-1124 for more details and times, or visit us on line at www.vancuragallery.com, or Settlers’ Village on facebook or in person at 14279 Old State Road, Middlefield 44062.

Middlefield – Celebrate Christ’s coming at Sparrow Christian Bookshop in Middlefield during the month of December.
The Church Boys will perform in the shop on the evening of Friday, Dec. 3rd from 6pm to 8pm. The Church Boys are a local quartet and will perform many Christmas and gospel favorites.
On the evening of Wed. Dec. 8, at 7pm, The First United Methodist Church Junior Choir will perform special selections from their annual Christmas musical – It’s A Wonder-Ful Life.
For all your Christmas gifts, music, cards and ornaments, stop by the bookshop.   Sparrow Christian is located at SR 608 and SR 87. Christmas hours are:  Dec. 6- Dec. 19 Mon-Fri 9-8pm, Sat. 9-6pm. Dec. 21 – Dec. 23 9am-9pm, Christmas Eve. 9am-5pm. 440.632.0011, sparrowchristian.com

Middlefield – If you are looking for a unique place to buy locally-made, handcrafted gift items, you need to stop by Amish Home Craft & Bakery.  They are located at 16860 Kinsman Road in Middlefield, just 1 1?2 miles east of downtown Middlefield.  Their regular hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 am until 4:30 pm and closed on Sunday.

Owner, Jonas Miller, Jr., spoke with me about the diversity of visitors that come to the shop.  They have several return customers from Utah, Texas, and as far away as  Dubai.  I took a look at their guest book and there were visitors from Arizona, Nevada, Canada and the Czech Republic.  While I was there Mr. Miller was regaling visitors from the far west side of Cleveland with delightful local stories.

The store provides its customers with a variety of handmade items.  They have items for the children such as Amish dolls, wooden trains, wooden puzzles, story books, use-your-imagination toys and games, corn hole bags and warm blankets.  You can pick from many items for the home, like quilts of all sizes, natural soaps from Pine Breeze Farms, rugs, table runners and placemats, baskets of every size and shape, wall hangings, hickory rockers and coat hooks.  You can also find lamp parts and other smaller household items.

Other items available are a line of Nature’s Sunshine herbs, supplements and vitamins.  Nature’s Sunshine first encapsulated herbs in 1972 and has been around ever since.  Miller’s Country Jams are available as well as other canned items and honey.

The homemade items are one component of this adorable shop and the other component is the daily bakery.  The Millers have an on-site bakery kitchen and offer a large variety of baked goods.  You will find several varieties of breads, cream rolls, cakes, pies, cookies, donuts, crème sticks and fry pies.  Now with the larger ovens, they are able to offer large fruit danish and other specialty baked items.  The bakery is in and of itself a worthy reason to stop by.

With the holidays fast approaching, you can get special orders made for your holiday meals.  By calling 440-632-1888 (let it ring as the phone is not in the shop or the house), you can order pies, dinner rolls, breads or sweets so you can do other things and enjoy the holidays more without the extra work for you.

The renewed consumer interest in locally-made products makes shopping for gift items and home items a perfect option at Amish Home Craft & Bakery.  Mr. Miller told me that most of the items they offer are locally made either by Amish or Mennonite artisans.  Buying there helps local economies and helps your personal economy because the pricing is extremely reasonable.

Christmas is a great time to stop by and do gift shopping, but don’t forget gifts for yourself and your dinner table.  You will be glad you stopped by.

Geauga County – The Geauga County Public Library Board of Trustees will be holding open public forums throughout the county shortly after Election Day, November 2.  Members of the public are invited to comment about what library services need to be funded in the 2011 library budget and beyond.  This will help the Library Board to make decisions about what services to keep, add or drop beginning in 2011.

Everyone is invited to these forums which will be held at each of the larger community library buildings.  Times vary to accommodate family life and work schedules.  If you can not attend the meeting nearest you, feel free to attend a different session.  There is no pre-registration needed for these forums.

Meeting dates and locations are:

Saturday, November 6, 10:00 a.m. at Geauga West Library; 13455 Chillicothe Road; Chesterland.  The phone number is 440-729-4250.

Monday, November 8, 7:00 p.m. at Bainbridge Library; 17222 Snyder Road; Bainbridge.  The phone number is 440-543-5611.

Wednesday, November 10, 7:00 p.m. at Chardon Library; 110 East Park Street; Chardon.  The phone number is 440-285-7601.

Tuesday, November 16, 6:00 p.m. at Middlefield Library; 16167 East High Street, Middlefield.  The phone number is 440-632-1961.