Monday, December 09, 2013

It's the most wonderful time of the year....

This year's Cowboy Christmas show was the best ever! 

(For more holiday enjoyment, click on the video below for a little background music!)

I try to go to this giant holiday show every year, which is held in conjunction with the National Finals Rodeo, being held here in town. Attending it is the only "Christmas-y" thing I do, and this year, it didn't disappoint. 

They even built a replica of a small-town street, which was very cool. It felt like Wild Bill Hickock was going to come busting out of a saloon at any second, guns a'shooting!

Everywhere you looked – you saw cowboy hats, cowboy boots, denim, and swagger.

  What's not to love?

They're not shy in reminding you what the show is all about. 

You'll find boots of every style 

and material, 

including this one that was taller than me! 

 You don't have to look too far to find saddles, there are seas of them, 

including these custom ones. 

This one was crazy-interesting, with a variety of scenes depicting famous cowgirls over the ages. Amazing. 

Speaking of amazing - this armchair, featured some over-the-top leather tooling. Seriously, this chair was simply something not to be missed. I can't even imagine how much time it took to create this piece.

Sit back, enjoy the ride,  indeed!

Notice the saddlebags, designed to hold magazines. Who wouldn't want to be an armchair cowboy?

And check out the holster, which holds your TV remote.

To say that these two are masters saddle makers is an understatement!

 There were plenty of vintage rides for sale, like Elsie the cow,

 and Rudy, the red-nosed reindeer.

But you know one of the main reasons I go to the Cowboy Christmas show this to check out the furniture, right? This year did not disappoint. In fact, like I said in the beginning of this post, this might've been the best year ever.
These custom tiled tables, which featured either a propane burner in the center, or an ice chest in the center, were stunning.


This table featured a musical motif, with inlaid piano keys and musical notes around the perimeter. I can't even imagine cutting the tile into those delicate shapes. 

 The set included chairs as well and the chairs reflected that musical theme too.

 Really, this company has upped the bar for outdoor patio furniture. 

Check the chair backs - they integrated perfectly with the table.

Look at this table base!

This table featured a wine motif, and had inlaid grape leaves, grapes, and gorgeous muted colors.

If I were judging the artwork in this show, I think these table makers might qualify for first place.

 I always enjoy seeing Dave Barkby's work, he's a woodturner from Pennsylvania. 

His large-scale segmented turnings are amazing, not just for their sheer size, but for their amazing quality, and for the finish that he puts on them. 

Most of his pieces were in redwood or buckeye. He wasn't turning at the show, but I grabbed this picture from his webpage. Amazing work, check out his website!

There wasn't as much great wooden furniture as last year, but a few pieces that out along the way. Like this bed. 

And this very rustic dining table and chairs.

One of my favorite booths belongs to Zeller trunks, who make top-notch steamer trunks, designed to be passed down from generation to generation. 

These are not just run-of-the-mill chests, trust me. 

They open up to reveal fabulous interiors, which include lift out storage boxes that have hidden compartments. 

The interiors are lined with fabulous fabrics, and gorgeous tapestries, tufted and well upholstered.

These pictures don't do them justice.

They even have custom hardware made for their pieces, like this gorgeous lock.

This is one of those times when I wish I had a few extra dollars in my pocket, I love to support other woodworkers who do amazing work. I would've bought one of these in a heartbeat!

There were a lot of interesting leather pieces, I just don't know how these would look in your average house, but they sure would look great in a ski cabin or ranch house.

This booth caught my eye last year too!

 I love these cherry busts that they used to display their jewelry. 

I can't tell if these are hand carved, but it looks as if no two are the same.

Honestly I know very little about the Wild Wild West, but how can you resist walking up to a teepee? ? This life-size teepee has always fascinated me.

This ceremonial shirt was amazing, words don't do it justice.

But wait - I'm only halfway through the show and I've already been blown away by the amazing artwork!   This company out of Claremont California made some pretty amazing wall sculptures, including this giant horse mane, 

and this Kokapelli design.

But truly – one of my favorite booths were selling these lamps - Parson lamps, out of Minnesota.

There shades were amazing (are you sick of that word yet?) 

and featured areas inlaid with agate, that were translucent, allowing light to shine through.

Their use of organic materials, like leaves, fern branches, and other tree parts was crazy.

I'm not sure other visitors of their booth appreciated the work as much as I did!

It's funny how different memories come back to us at odd times, but last year– on the day that I attended the show – it was the day of the Newtown shootings.  I remember there was an air of sadness hanging around during the show. So seeing this shooting range booth, and it's glamorization of guns to children gave a queasy feeling.

   I understand that hunting will always be a part of the wild wild west, 

but that is not the kind of gun problem but I was thinking about.

 As one booth vendor said to me - we haven't solved a thing in a year, have we?

Okay I'll step back down, off that soapbox, and share a few more fun things.  Everywhere you looked, there were interesting things to absorb.

I'm not sure I want a pink pig grill in my backyard, but it sure got a lot of attention at the show.

And these tutus for beer bottles just made me laugh out loud.


I don't think you'd see your average cowboy using one of these.

I finally bought a shirt at the Cowgirl Up store, since I didn't buy one last year and thought about it for the last 12 months. Well actually, I bought three, since they were on sale. 

But my favorite booth and my favorite vendor was Christine Sisco, from Treestump Woodcrafts out of Tumacacori, Arizona.

They make beautiful tables, inlaid with river rock and minerals.

Check out these lovely serving boards. I splurged and bought one this year - it looks lovely in my house.

Their bread knives, 

spatulas and spoons and scoops are amazingly well-crafted. (I use one of her coffee scoops every morning, when making my morning joe.)

What's not to love?

You know what? I love everything about this Cowboy Christmas show. If you've never attended, you are missing one of the best holiday shows around.

Long live all the cowboys and cowgirls who were so entertaining during this show. 
See you next year!

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