Three more days!

It’s 4am on December 22nd and the day begins for us at Sabando Design. We are a true mom and pop operation. My wife Kristeena and I design, fabricate and sell the jewelry we’ve been offering at the market for the past six years.

We generally follow a Monday through Friday schedule at the Market, but sell every day from Black Friday to Christmas Eve. I will give you a little insight on what it takes for us to keep a full selection of products at our booth on a continuous basis.

Our early rise enables us both to fabricate rings, pendants, bracelets and earrings in silver and gemstones daily before heading into the Market. Many of the products you find in the Market require a multiple-day process before they are able to be sold.

We are set up to make things from conception to finish in a continuous sequence. Many jewelers use various tumblers to get a finish on their shiny creations. We are set up to tumble chains in crushed walnut shell tumblers for a bright finish, but we usually use a sequence of motor buffers and compounds to get that alluring shine.

Throughout the year we purchase finished faceted stones and gemstone roughs for our designs. In the final weeks before Christmas we have no time to actually cut and polish the various cabochon gemstones used in our designs, so this generally happens when the weather is warmer, because grinding stones involves lots of water on diamond impregnated wheels and belts, and our hands get cold from the constant spraying while polishing. We try to ensure that we have enough raw materials to get us through the holiday season.

Throughout the year we offer custom design work for our customers and friends. This is great for people who plan a more personalized gift for their loved ones. We often set stones with sentimental meanings or etch specific designs into metal for our customers. Every year we stop taking custom orders by the 15th of December so we can just focus on balancing our product mix for the remaining days.

These final days before Christmas simply revolve around the two of us fabricating and selling. Our morning ritual is to caffeinate first, and crank the heater and tunes in our downstairs studio. We each make our own individual pieces, but agree on what we need to give a balanced color and size display at the Market. By 6:30am we usually try to have our polishing complete so we have enough time to shower and walk our dogs before we head downtown.

Around 8:20am we arrive in the Market and pull our cart from its locker location. At 9am the bell rings for roll call. We choose our selling locations by seniority.  Every vendor is assigned a number when they are accepted in the Market. We are number 153 out of a total of around 260. Once we have have picked our spot we need about an hour until we are properly displayed and ready to sell.

By 10 :15am you should find Kristeena and I ready to assist you. “Three more days!” is our mantra today. We hope to welcome you down to the Market among our friends and fellow crafters and artists.

by Ron Sabando, Sabando Design

Where are my elves?

At this time of year, the Pike Place Producers are thinking “lucky Santa” and wishing we had our own elves. Just like the famous North Pole workshop, our studios are a hive of activity as we busy ourselves making lovely gifts for under the tree.

But rather than magic and reindeer, it’s plain old elbow grease and people power that’s bringing our gifts to you. So I thought it would be fun to draw back the curtain and give you a peek behind the scenes at Red Delicious Handbags HQ.

A lot has happened before you see my products carefully arranged at my Pike Place Market booth, like this.

Red Delicious booth display

Here’s the Wall o’ Fabric! Not just mine, but also that of my studio partner Lynn Rosskamp of Pingihats. This is maybe half of the fabric stashed around our work space.

The Wall o' Fabric

I make all my own pattern pieces and then have to cut all the fabric before even starting to make a bag. Here are some Long & Lean bags in progress:

Bags in progress

It’s impossible to do everything myself (if I want to sleep and read a book occasionally, that is!). And in the Market rules we are allowed one production assistant. This is Lovely Assistant Nikki doing some cutting. She also assists PingiHats production.

Lovely Assistant Nikki

And finally, I sew up the pieces to make the bags you know and love! The studio has big windows which let in lots of light, and I can see all the great neighborhood dogs being walked by.

Emma at the sewing machine

I hope you receive lots of lovely hand-crafted gifts this year, and wish you all very Happy Holidays, with grateful thanks for your interest in, and support of, my business and all the Pike Place Producers.

by Emma Roscoe, Red Delicious Bags

It’s true. Your purchases do keep us warm.


I came home yesterday after a long cold market day to a surprise package. Return address, Soldotna, Alaska. I opened the box and unwrapped the green tissue to pull out 2 bundles of long, thin, beeswax candles still smelling of honey.

Years ago a customer and his wife fell in love with our art work. So much so that they sent me a gift of a bundle of hand dipped candles made by nuns from an Orthodox church in their home town. I used them as part of my Christmas display in my home for several years, portioning them out so that my cherished bundle would last as long as it could.

John, the husband, returned to my table at the market several weeks ago. It’s truly a pleasure to see a familiar face. We caught up with each other. He purchased several more tiles for his collection and as gifts. I asked about his wife and let him know again how much joy her gift of candles had brought to me. And now we circle back to my surprise package today. My lovely new bundles of candles that will last until our next meeting.

It is in these interactions that we find our humanity. That I’m able to express my joy at what I do together with my husband, Jeff. We create art. We sell it as a way to make our living.

I heard from Britta today who recently moved out of town and misses the market. And us. She started purchasing art work from us several years ago and has brought to our table friends and family who now also enjoy our art in their homes.

A fellow artist at the market was overheard saying to one of his regulars “Susan, you really don’t have to buy something every time you stop by”.

It’s true. It’s also true that, especially on cold winter days, we are warmed by your purchases. I will admit that.

So – what do I make and sell? Art tiles that reflect five of the world’s religions. Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Islamic and Hindu images. Intricately designed bas relief art. Each hand colored and labeled with a brief description of the image on the back. What do you do with them? You enjoy them as art. You hang them on your wall or place on a stand. They are simple reflections of the age old beauty of spiritual art. Our new “Minis” make wonderful gifts without being overwhelming.

People on your list that would love to receive one of our art tiles:
A friend that is creating a sacred space
Someone studying Buddhism
A Jewish friend’s Hannukah gift
Yoga instructor or practitioner
A collector of all things “Om”
An outreach to a Muslim neighbor
A collector of crosses
Your care giver
A child’s teacher
Someone who loves all things Celtic
Your Catholic aunt
A friend who has traveled to Europe or Asia and loved it
A massage therapist (The Hamsa hand of protection is perfect)

You make the list and you will find gifts for people on it. We keep our prices accessible (between $20-$45 with discounts for multiple items) and for the holidays I will include a stand while my supply lasts.

A popular purchase, as always, is the “World Set”. The five world religions as an even reflection of faith.
World Set - Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu
Visit us at Pike Place Market Friday – Monday. I will be at the market every day from December 15 through the 24th ready to meet you and introduce you to our art.

Blessings for the holidays and the new year,
Kat Allen
Symbols in Art