Holiday arts, crafts sale fundraiser kicks off for Centre County Historical Society

Near the library of the Centre Furnace Mansion were books of a different sort.

Lisa S. Packer, of Bellefonte, owns pocketBOOKS — a business where she turns hardcover books into purses by replacing the pages with fabric.

On Thursday night, Packer’s booth was one of a record 60 vendors that were showcased during the preview party to the 11th annual Stocking Stuffer Antiques, Art and Fine Craft Sale at the Centre Furnace Mansion, which starts Friday.

Guests were able to get an exclusive look at items for sale in the next two days, along with being able to purchase items before the crowd rolls in.

The sale is part of a way to raise money for the Centre County Historical Society and the Centre Furnace Mansion, said program coordinator Megan Orient.

“It’s our major annual fundraising goal,” she said, adding that last year’s efforts raised about $10,000.

Seventy people were part of the preview party Thursday.

Lena Thynell, a patron and small business owner, said that seeing everyone’s creativity is inspiring.

“I really wanted to see what everyone else was selling,” said Thynell, who also has her small business on display. “Everyone has something different to admire.”

Knittings and Paintings by Lena features watercolors and small knitted items like wrist warmers and mittens that she said keep people both warm and fashionable.

“Knitting was all part of my upbringing,” said Thynell, who learned to knit when she was 9 years old in Sweden.

Thynell moved to State College about two years ago. To help keep busy, she decided to take her crafts to shows around central Pennsylvania.

“I wanted to share my skills with others,” she said. “It surprised me how in demand these kind of things were.”

Executive Director Mary Sorensen said that this year, the sale has a green theme that highlighted dozens of local vendors who use recycled products to make items.

Carol Baney, of Flotsam and Jetson, uses old watch parts to make jewelry. Peaceful Pleasures, of Port Matilda, makes organic lotions, soaps and other hygiene products.