Lynbrook Craft Faire vendors share their holiday spirit


Anushka Anand

Products sold by Craft Faire venders Gillian Ortega, Gina Velez, Dianne Hawk, and Gloria Othon.

Anushka Anand, Managing Editor

Marking the beginning of the holiday season, the annual Craft Faire featured a variety of vendors selling hand-crafted items. Cupertino holiday shoppers flocked to the faire hosted by Lynbrook Instrumental Music Boosters.

Gillian Ortega

From soaps to scarves, Gillian Ortega, owner of Gillian’s Garage, has been inspired by her mother’s hobby of knitting and craft projects to create her own

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ortega turned to crafting as a way to pass time. Making soap bars takes two days of active work and six weeks of curing, leaving her time to work on other projects, like magnets shaped like screaming pumpkins.

Accumulating a large variety of craft products, Ortega decided to sell them at her third Craft Faire. Ortega brought at least 400 individual products to the Craft Faire, including approximately 200 bars of soap. 

Waking up at 6:00 a.m. on the day of the Faire, Ortega and her assistants organized all her items and loaded them into the car, arriving at Lynbrook around 8 a.m. 

“Seeing all the people wandering by and asking questions helps me socialize, as I don’t consider myself a very social person,” Ortega said. “I want to make someone’s day if I can.”

Gina Velez

A way to treasure memories, the scrapbooks Gina Velez and her mother have crafted since the early 2000s are filled with memorable photos, from wedding to holiday themes. 

“My mother is my best friend,” Velez said. “Scrapbooking is a great way for us to spend time with each other.”

After returning from her job as a project manager, Velez has used scrapbooking as a way to spend her evenings applying her creative side. It takes her about two hours to make smaller scrapbooks which cost $25 and four hours to create the larger sizes which are $50. 

During her third consecutive year at the Lynbrook Craft Faire, Velez was excited to sell her 85 scrapbooks as well as hear the stories of those around her. For example, people looking at the scrapbooks of dogs often show her pictures of their own pets.

“I like to think that my scrapbook is sitting on somebody’s coffee table,” Velez said. “Every time they look at it, I hope it brings a smile to their face.” 

Dianne Hawk:

Monta Vista alumna Dianne Hawk typically makes quilted houses to gift her friends. She sold her four-hour creations at her tenth Craft Faire. 

As a teen, Hawk sewed her own clothes and was inspired to continue quilting by her mother and mother-in-law. Her quilted houses are made of various patterns found in fabric stores which are cut, lined and filled with quilt batting. 

After packing all her materials on the morning of the Craft Faire, Hawk and her husband arrived at the gym to set up. Students greeted them, helped them set up and brought food and drinks to them. 

“I come here every year because of how this school treats the artists,” Hawk said. “The Lynbrook students just make it more enjoyable.”

Hawk enjoys listening to stories from the customers, noting down any ideas they give them for future house patterns. 

“Listening to them tell their own stories makes me want to go and fish out patterns in fabric stores for the next Craft Faire,” Hawk said. 

Gloria Othon:

At her eighth Craft Faire, Gloria Othon sold a variety of fruit jams and baked goods, from Grinch-themed cookies to mini blueberry pies. 

Inspired by her mother, Othon spends retirement coming up with recipes that she can share with her daughter and grandchildren. Othon started attending the Craft Faire with her daughter around 30 years ago. 

Othon began baking three days before the Craft Faire, making her homemade frozen cookie dough and bread. With little time left, Othon spent the night packaging all her items into mini plastic bags before heading off to the Craft Faire. 

Many of Othon’s jams and baked goods are sugar-free and allergy-friendly. With about 13 different one-hour recipes, each making around 15 servings, Othon hopes to inspire various students to explore baking. 

“It makes me happy when people buy my goods,” Othon said. “I spend a lot of time making and packaging each one.”