Have a Dirt-y Christmas

By Karen Parr-Moody

 

Jason Parker Counce’s Dirt Home + Garden booth at GasLamp Too always looks like a cozy cabin outfitted for a stylish gent or lady. Upon closer inspection, it is carefully curated for gift-giving of the unique kind – especially for Christmas and New Year’s.

 

 Dirt’s façade is currently trimmed in red and green lights and inside the booth is a holiday bonanza filled with Counce's folk art, vintage finds and American-made creations.

 

Each year, Counce sends out a battalion of vintage items that he finds for the holidays. One is this darling bunny in the photo, right, adorned with a vintage Boy Scout tie for extra charm.

 

“Well-loved, old stuffed toys bring back memories of Christmas past and present,” says Counce.

 

Counce once joked that he pays his booth’s rent each month with owls. Anyone who knows his distinctive owls knows that they arrive in the fall and are perfect for hanging on a Halloween or autumn-themed tree.

 

For Christmas, Counce also makes an array of ornaments. This year, he has delivered candy canes in vintage ticking with red tartan bows or white berries, which are perfect for the most creative of trees. (Photo, left; $16; Booth T-309 at GasLamp Too). There are also gingerbread men to sweeten the season ($24).  

 

“Vintage fabric reinvented into candy canes and gingerbread man ornaments brings home a little handmade homespun joy,” Counce says.

 

While Counce’s Dirt is filled with items made by his own hands, he always introduces popular products made by other creative sprites. Among these are folk artist Norma Schneeman and her daughter, Jennifer. Working from Boaz, Kentucky, they create fabric dolls, fruits, vegetables, animals and seasonal items.

 

The spotted dog wearing a bell collar in the photo, right, was made by Norma Schneeman and is hand-stitched, signed and dated ($165).

 

“It’s a collectible item to enjoy any time of the year,” Counce says.

 

Another artisan featured at the Dirt booth is Kay Holseberg, who makes candied pecans at her family’s farm outside of Charleston, South Carolina. Her company is called Molly and Me.

 

Gourmet pecans make great gifts,” Counce says.

 

Counce is currently selling Molly and Me’s “Sweet Heat” pecans, along with the most popular flavor, the rich and creamy praline pecans (photo, below left). These farm-fresh pecans do not include any additives or preservatives. (Small jars of pecans are $7; brown bags are $12; clear bags are $15.)

 

The vignette of retro thermoses in the photo, right, includes a large plaid one from Aladdin Industries, a company from Nashville that once sold lunchboxes decorated with icons of pop culture (large metal thermoses, $24 each; smaller plastic thermos, $7). Today, they can be used for carrying along a steamy cup of coffee or a creamy tomato soup.

 

“Vintage plaid thermoses are always a staple for me,” Counce says. “Then I’m ready to go with hot cocoa!”

 

If you are looking for a place that offers true holiday tradition, made by hand in America or found among the treasures of yesteryear, then look no more. Dirt is the place for you.

 

 

 

 

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