Chris Alves (left) and Sharon Corkery of The Odd Stop, located at 509 St. Lawrence St. in Winchester were one of the participants in the Christmas in the Country Studio tour. If you were looking for something different for that hard to buy for person, this might be the place for you.  Tinkess Photo

SDG – If you are a craft show junkie (and you know who you are), then this weekend that just past was custom made for you.

As local crafters ramp up for the part of the year that often determines whether they worked to keep busy or worked to make a profit, last weekend you could find a collection of talented artisans no matter where you turned in SDG.

One of these groups, the Christmas in the Country studio tour was a little bit more spread out than the others, but that just meant you had a pleasant drive on a beautiful fall day as you travelled from one gifted artisan to the next.

The studio tour featured locations in South Stormont, South Dundas and North Dundas and included Aultsville Station Country Shop, The Encore Shoppe, Caanan Mohair Spinning and Weaving Studio, Barnful O’Goodies, Property Home Staging and ReDesign Landscaping, Pam French at @Green Triangle Design, Welcome Home Interiors with Diana Saunders, Designer, Lilnanysue, The Odd Stop, and the Big Blue Barn by St. Pierre-McAllister Appraisals.

Diana Saunders of Welcome Home Interiors in Williamsburg was the organizer of the event, which is in its second year. She was very pleased with how things went this year but is already making plans for next year.

“Next year we’re hoping to sign on a few more people so there’s a few more stops, and we’re looking at getting someplace where you can stop for lunch, maybe have someone with a pop-up tearoom; we had a lot of requests for a tearoom.”

While most of the locations were at least semi-rural in nature, there was one that wasn’t, and that was The Odd Stop, located on St. Lawrence St. in Winchester. The name is appropriate; you will find things there that you won’t find anywhere else. Comic books, vintage video games, signs, collectibles of all kinds and even a few large pieces of taxidermy and some extreme large butterflies and beetles displayed and framed. It’s a special place. Sharon Corkery, who with Chris Alves own The Odd Stop, says the best part is watching people come in and suddenly become kids again, seeing things that they remember from their childhood, or things that they wished they had taken the time to explore.

While Alves sees that aspect of it, he also sees something else. “All the stories and the history are kind of my favourite part of it. You know, continued learning and that’s kind of what drew my interest to any of this in the first place. I’m always looking to learn something else, do something else and learn a new skill and you know, it just kind of built into everything. Next thing you know, I’m doing all the custom framing, the entomology, the skeletal articulation, just because I saw it on TV and thought, hey, I can learn to do that. And I did. The information is at our fingertips when you’re using it as a tool as it’s supposed to be used, not letting it use you.”

But if comics and entomology aren’t your thing, you’d be sure to find something to your liking at the other stops on the tour, and with these vendors having a shop or studio of their own as opposed to a table at a one- or two-day event, you can always return without having to wait till next year.

A life well lived is all about choices, and last weekend there were many good ones.