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Spokane's Lunar New Year - Fireworks, Dances, and More!


Spokane’s Lunar New Year Business Expo returns to Spokane, February 24, 2024! This wonderful Lunar New Year festival is brought to everyone by Spokane’s United We Stand, a local organization founded in 2020. Spokane’s very first Lunar New Year Celebration was in 1888, only 15 years after Spokane was founded! Back then, the little settlement was known as Spokan Falls. It ran continuously all the way to 1933. Sadly, the festival languished and eventually was extinguished due to a terrible combination of the The Great Depression and strict immigration practices. 2022 saw the return of Spokane’s Lunar New Year Celebration after an 89 year hiatus! 


The Expo is a fantastic way to experience, enjoy, and learn about all kinds of different cultures and is 100% free for all ages! There will be Lion Dancers, Dragon Dancers, fireworks, and a Third Prince done with authentic costumes provided by the Taiwanese Embassy. The New Year is a time of hope, prosperity, and generosity for many Asian cultures. Over $20,000 in gift cards to local businesses will be given out in 5,000 red envelopes at the Celebration.


In the spirit of celebrating and respecting Spokane's Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AAHPI) communities, Cutoff Crafts will also be handing out Red Envelopes (hong bao/lai-see) to the first 100 customers who spend $20 or more on our wonderful merchandise. Each Red Envelope wishes the person luck for the new year and includes a real coin from many countries including: China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, and more!

The very first hong bao, it is said, was eight coins that were gifted to a child while the evil monster Sui was terrorizing the land. The child played with the coins all day, wrapping them and rewrapping them in lucky red paper. Finally the child fell asleep. When Sui crept in during the night to try and harm the child, the coins shone so brightly that they drove Sui away.


Ever since, money wrapped in red envelopes has been seen as lucky to a wide range of Asian and Pacific cultures. 


2024 marks the return in the Eastern Zodiac to the Year of The Dragon. Cutoff Crafts has prepared $5 and $15 goodie bags stuffed full of loot. The $5 goodie bags contain candy, stickers, a popit, glow in the dark stars, a polished stone, and a small animal figurine.The $15 mystery bags contain a metal enamel dragon pin, stickers, and some even have gift certificates for Cutoff Crafts!


We will also have a variety of dragon themed merch including micro building block kits!


The Spokane Lunar New Year Celebration promises to be full of family fun. The first 500 attendees will receive swag bags. There will be a petting zoo, 100+ vendors, a Cultural Fashion Show, photo op spots, traditional dances and more. It is entirely free. The doors open at 1:00 p.m. and the fireworks start at 7:00 p.m.


Swing by the Spokane Convention Center today, February 24th, 2024, and join in the fun!



 

Valley Vista Spring Craft Fair: A Look at Past and Future Events

This blogpost has been sponsored by Valley Vista.

As we approach the half way mark in February, it is time for us vendors to really get a handle on all the 2024 events. In some cases, if us vendors have not applied by now, we will not be hosting a booth this year at that event. The whole scene gets rather insane.

For Cutoff Crafts, we usually start planning in September or October of the pervious year, and by January first, we usually have our events planned out and ready to go. You can find out where we will be on our Calendar of Events. It is no secret where we will be hosting a booth, and we can't wait to see everyone at our favorite events.

One of the top events we highly seek out and apply for is, of course, the amazing indoor/outdoor Valley Vista Spring Craft Fair! This craft fair almost falls into the category of a Spring Festival with so much to do including: shopping local vendors, pony and hay rides, bouncy house, food vendors, music, and more. The picture below shows just how crazy and fun this event can be with vendors both in the grass and in the Valley Vista barn!

Thanks to Valley Vista, we get to show off our affection for this event by sharing some of our favorite memories of past events and what we look forward in the future! 

For Michelle (one half of the amazing Cutoff Crafts duo) she, "absolutely love(s) the food court set up. The barbecue and coffee were really good. The picnic table area is a neat place to meet people from near and far. I got to chat over lunch with a lovely family from Greece last year and another young couple who were really in to rock hunting. It was wonderful to unwind and just breathe before getting back in to the thick of things."

For me (the crazy half of Cutoff Crafts), I love how happy and kind everyone is at the event. Not only are the vendors happy and excited to be there, but so are the customers. It is a day of fun! 

I remember last year, early in the morning, while I was leaving the house to vend at the Valley Vista Spring Craft Fair, I looked to the side of my house to see the weirdest thing I had ever laid my eyes upon. My mom had taken my finest lace ribbons, ones often adorned on fine garments, and used them to make a DIY fence. We had the prettiest neighbor border I had ever seen. I couldn't help it, I started laughing. I mean who goes into a garage full of tools and wood, goes to the craft office, finds a spool of pretty lace ribbon, and thinks, 'that will be perfect for a fence'?

I was laughing so hard that I didn't see a tree jump from the ground and grow into a tall leafy beauty in 2.5 seconds. I backed into the tree with my mom's truck, shattering the driver's side taillight, leaving a nasty dent and scratch. No longer laughing, I cleaned up the mess, packed the items for the event, and picked up Michelle so we could sell our items at the craft fair. The entire drive to Valley Vista, I worried about how I would fix the truck. Would the insurance even believe the story? 

I attempted to worry about the accident all day while at Valley Vista, but the kindness of others and the friendly customers turned my day around and pretty soon, I was having fun and laughing. When a group of people and customers can change your day from terrible to better, you know that the craft fair is amazing. I still had to fix a tail light, but, by the end of the day, the accident was no longer an end of the world scenario, but a funny story called "Accident and Lace."

I know that we here at Cutoff Crafts, look forward to more of the food, customers, and friendly vibe. We are excited to be in the barn once again, vending some of our newer items, and some of the items our customers look for at each event. This year we will feature many new stones, crystals, and fossils Michelle has been collecting over the last year, along with some of our newer items such a mystery loot bags, puzzles, and more.

For those still looking to be vendors at some pretty epic events, we highly suggest Valley Vista Spring or Fall Craft Fairs. Grab your application from our blog here, "Valley Vista Spring Craft Fair Applications"

NOTE: Jan Reid is the ONLY person accepting applications and payments.

Applications submitted before Feb 29, 2024 will be charged $75 for a 10’x10’ booth. 

The price for a booth after Feb 29, 2024 will be $90.

WE HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!


The Celestial Masquerade - A Perfect Treat

This February, the KuroNeko Cultural Association will present the very first Celestial Masquerade! The doors open for a single night of fun on February 10, 2024, at the Doubletree by Hilton in Spokane, Washington. It’s a beautiful location right along the Spokane River. There is easy access to the Spokane Riverfront Park for anyone who wants to take a scenic stroll.

The Celestial Masquerade has different passes that access different features. The Vendor Hall portion is free and open to the public from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. That’s where Cutoff Crafts will be! I am very excited about it. 


The Celestial Masquerade looks to be an absolute treat that is just perfect for Valentine’s Day. A General Admission ticket costs $45 and grants access to the Vendor Hall, the Masquerade Dance, the Cosplay Contest, and of course the Snack Bar. If you are going with a loved one or a friend, the Couple’s Admission is a wonderful way to go. A Couple’s Admission pack comes with two General Admission tickets to the Dance, Cosplay Contest, and Snack Bar… at $70, a $10 discount.  


For those who want the full VIP experience, there is the VIP Pass. Besides full access to the Vendor Hall, Masquerade, Cosplay Contest, and Snack Bar, it also includes a special VIP Swag Bag, a VIP Photo Session, and access to the VIP Lounge which has fancier food options and a customized arcade game cabinet. A single VIP pass costs $120, while a Couple’s Package (2 VIP tickets) costs $200 (which saves $40!).


For those who are 21 and up, there will be a full service bar available. There is also a Fundraising Raffle taking place. Semi-Formal Attire is encouraged but it is NOT required.


KuroNekoCon has struck a deal with the Doubletree by Hilton for the Celestial Masquerade. Two Queen Bed Rooms are available at a discounted rate of $145 per night. More information is on their website. Parking is available for any Masquerade attendee at the Doubletree by Hilton parking garage. Event parking costs $10, while overnight costs $27.


Registration opens for the Masquerade at 3:00 p.m. Be sure and book your tickets online to speed up the process.

 

Event: 

The Celestial Masquerade


Location:

The Doubletree by Hilton

322 North Spokane Falls Court,

Spokane, WA

99201


Time:

February 10th, 2024

3:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.


Cutoff Crafts’ Item Spotlight


Ahsoka and I will be at the Vendor Hall during the Masquerade. The Vendor Hall is free to access and open to everyone. We will be bringing a wide variety of wares for those looking for that special something to finish off an epic night of dancing.


Michelle has been hard at work creating beautiful earrings and bracelets to delicately grace those who prefer  the finer things in life. This particular pair of earrings includes shimmering fuchsia-azure glass stars that are mounted on hypoallergenic sterling silver hooks.



Ahsoka, always one to embrace creativity, has created these joyful little otters. They are otterly adorable. A perfect fit for the palm of your hand, they are cute as can be. Ahsoka will also have a wide array of all sorts of crocheted toys. I think I even saw a seal!

We will also be bringing a curated selection of dice, stickers, and wooden laser-cut jigsaw puzzles. I fell in love with this galactic space owl puzzle the very first time I saw it!



 We hope to see you there!

Business Owners Beware of Scammers!



Hey all, I want to get this story out to make sure that all us business owners know what is happening. I know it is a little long but keep with it.

Yesterday, I had two interests in a couple of my items. They were sent through my Facebook business messenger. Since I had placed the items on my Facebook business profile to advertise my new crochet Sea Otters, this interest came across as legit, especially since I have sold items this way before.


The conversation starts with a seemingly innocent request to order an item: asking how much (in this case $25), do we ship (another $12), and what the total will be ($37). They even provided a legit address on where to send the items. Honestly, it was a pretty natural conversation.
Their next question was how they should pay for the items. Since we take multiple forms of payment for the ease of our customers, I listed options of payment (E.G. CashApp, Venmo, PayPal, Square invoice etc.). The would-be customer then selected their form of payment, in this case PayPal. Again, not a problem, I have taken payment through PayPal several times.
For those that may not know, payment through PayPal is done through an email or using a QR code. I make it a practice to send the QR code out to my customers for easy payments.
1. it prevents the possibility of sending the money to the wrong email.
2. I simply adore QR codes. It is the nerd in me.
So with my nerd hat on, I sent the QR code for payment.
Now, some customers just don't like to use QR codes, so when the request for an email was issued, again I thought nothing of it, and sent them the email they can use to pay for the adorable crochet items. The would-be customer then informs me that payment has been sent.
I go to my PayPal and find that the payment has not been deposited.
Here is where the warning bells for anyone experiencing this, should go off. It should be a code red situation with flashing lights, a Bee-Doo sound, and a big red warning sign.


With the realization I may be dealing with a scammer, I simply stated that the payment has not yet cleared. (Let's face it, it could have still been legit with a burp in the system. Before I accuse anyone of scamming, I want to be absolutely sure.) I then explain that we will wait 3-5 business days for the payment to clear. If it doesn't clear in that time, we can revisit which payment option they would like to take.
The would-be customer than stated, "Can you check your email."
Why not, let's humor this possible scammer. Sure enough there was an email stating the the $37 funds have been held due to the fact that my PayPal account is not a business account. In order to receive the $37, I must request that the customer send me $200 to upgrade my account to a business account. Then I must refund the $200 to receive my $37. Obviously a Scam. PayPal, in fact all payment options, would never do this.
At this point however, I want to see how far this scammer would go. I play the fool.
I explain that once the payment clears I will send the items to the address attached to their PayPal account and to just give it some time.
The scammer then panics a little thinking they are losing their fish on the line. He then stated that he received an email explaining that he must send me another $200 to activate my business account. Because this is a lot of money, I must promise to refund the amount. He then asked me, "Do you promise?"
I said, of course I would refund the amount and how excited I am that they are willing to help me activate my PayPal business account. I thought I may have went on a bit thick, but sure enough, I get another email stating that the $200 had been sent to my account and that in order to release all the funds I must
1. request the customers information,
2. send the customer $200
3. take a screen shot of the refund and reply to this email with proof of the refund
4. I will get $237 dollars back into my account.
Yeah, I was not going to do this. BUT, just to have a little fun since I was a little bored, I continued to play the fool with the hope that maybe, just maybe, I could score a little cash.
I explained that since no payments have cleared, I can't send $200 because this could be a possible scam. Now that I have a business account thanks to their help, how about they send me $20. Once it clears and I can be sure this isn't a scam, I will then send them $220. This will tell me she is legit.
The scammer at this punt told me they were out of funds, that the money they sent was for a hospital bill, and that the toy purchased was for "her" son who is in the hospital. If she didn't get it back, her son was to be discharged. I was then asked, do I want the death of her son on my hands.
This Scammer puts it on thick.
I explained that I would give 24 hours for her to find the funds and send me a payment. That I can't send the 200 back without a cleared payment dude to safety concerns.
This back and forth about her child happened for about half an hour. That's when the scammer decided to take another approach. Time to bring in the faith. I started getting bombarded with Bible verses about how it is a sin to steal and rob and that she would never do so because she is a Christian.
Since I am a Christian, another half hour happened about Bible verses, God, and how to get forgiveness for our sins.
I believe at this point, it was time for the scammers final tactic. I was threatened with imprisonment and losing my job. I was flooded with emails stating that certain 3 letter companies know where I live and that I will be arrested for being a "Nutritious Fraudster" (I sound delicious). That I was stealing 200 dollars and, in fact, I was the scammer.
At this point, it had been 3-4 hours of convos. and color me impressed, they stayed in character for much of it. However, it was now 8am and my tired self decided to end our entertaining story. I told them I knew they were a scammer, that i knew the emails were fake, that I was forwarding these messages and emails to the proper authorities, and that they should not be scamming people.
I got called the scammer and blocked.
The second interest was a similar convo, with almost the same script, except this time I sent them fake receipts for the $200. I was complimented for my editing skills, cursed at, and blocked.

So here is the heads up

As business owners, it is important to be aware of these types of scams. While this one seems easy enough to recognize, there are many more that appear legit.
Stay Safe and Vigilant
Signed the Nutritious Fraudster\

North Idaho and Surrounding Area Community Calendar

It's January 2024 and our North Idaho Events, Fairs, nd Markets' Community Calendar has had an upgrade! 

We started North Idaho Events, Fairs, and Markets Community Calendar in 2020 to track events and keep an eye on what was happening in the community. It was, and is, a great way for us to collect events and place them in one area to make them easy to find.  What started with just a few people working together to make a go at having a small business in the North Idaho and the surrounding areas, has now grown into a large community group where we all help each other thrive. The calendar has quickly grown to a useful tool that is used by many in the community. 

What is amazing about this calendar is that it's run by the community. While we have a few admins to accept and approve listings, it takes a community to keep it going. Anyone can add events to the calendar by following just a few simple steps, and this attribute keeps the calendar current and relevant for all those in the area.

Because this calendar has been so helpful in keeping track of the events in the area and that so many vendors and event seekers use it, we have updated the calendar! What used to be an informal link has now been made into a very epic domain! Check it out: https://northidahocommunitycalendar.com/

We are so excited to see this upgrade and look forward to even more improvements as the calendar and group grows!


Valley Vista has Announced Their 2024 Spring Craft Fair!

This blogpost has been sponsored by Valley Vista.

Valley Vista is announcing their 2024 Valley Vista Spring Craft Fair, May 4-5, 2024! The craft fair is held at a wonderful location located right on HWY 95, just south of Sandpoint, in beautiful Cocolalla. The Valley Vista Spring Craft Fair is a fantastic family event! Cutoff Crafts is happy to have attended every craft fair hosted by Valley Vista, and thrilled to continue patroning such a joyful event. We will certainly be at the 2024 Valley Vista Spring Craft Fair.

For shoppers, the massive red barn has giant letters spelling out “Valley Vista” that makes it incredibly easy to spot and reference. The farm has a sprawling area that hosts 50+ vendors as well as pony rides, bounce houses, food trailers, and more! There is a dedicated field for customer parking. 

Valley Vista works with the Idaho Department of Transportation and receives large electronic signs directing traffic safely off of HWY 95. 

Valley Vista Spring Craft Fair 2023
 
For Vendors:
Those who wish to sell their food/items at the 2024 Valley Vista Craft Fair, get your applications in ASAP! This year Jan Reid is offering discounts to those who apply and pay early. Jan Reid is the ONLY person able to accept applications and payments.

Booth spaces are 10’x10’.

The Early Bird Rate for a 10’x10’ booth is $75. Applications must be submitted, accepted, and the fee paid before Feb 29, 2024 in order to qualify.

Applications submitted after Feb 29, 2024 will be charged the full price of $90 for a 10’x10’ booth.

As always, there is an extra $20 charge for electricity.

To help all the vendors, Valley Vista will also be deploying wifi signal boosters to help vendors achieve stable internet connections for accepting electronic payments.

Download the Application, and get started!


Winterfest at Post Falls' City Hall is always a treat!

December 1st, 2023, is Post Falls’ Winterfest and Plaza Market! The Post Falls' City Hall puts on a wonderful craft fair complete with a tree lighting ceremony and caroling. There will be a canned food drive to help the local community, a Toys for Tots collection, and a visit from Santa Claus. Santa is anticipated to arrive at his local workshop at 6:15 p.m. We are always thrilled to do this craft fair. The mood is joyous, there are merry fire barrels scattered around to roast marshmallows at, and there is just something magical feeling about the clean, crisp December night air.

Cutoff Crafts will have a full tent set up complete with hypoallergenic earrings, handmade crochet toys, stickers, pins, dice, keychains, mystery loot bags, and handmade coinpurses.


Ahsoka and I have created special Christmas Mystery Loot Bags and Pokemon Mystery Loot Bags that are fantastic stocking stuffers.


Our specially made Christmas Mystery Loot Bags have one Christmas themed metal enamel pin and one full set of fancy dice. The dice sets are worth $20 and the metal pin is worth at least $12, which means that every bag is guaranteed to have AT LEAST $32 worth of merch! Each Christmas Mystery Loot Bag costs only $25. I love the Kuromi dressed for winter pin, she is totally adorable and mischievous. Our Christmas Mystery Loot Bags are easy to spot, they each have a unique vinyl reindeer sticker on them.


The Grinch is judging your Nat 1s

In addition to our Christmas Mystery Loot Bags we wanted to make something special for the Pokemon fans out there. Can you believe that it has been 25 years since Pokemon debuted in the United States? I was surprised! Growing up I loved how fun the anime series was. One of my favorite episodes was “Battle Aboard the St. Anne” where James from Team Rocket is conned into buying a seemingly simple Magikarp. Ahsoka is a huge fan of Jigglypuff and especially loves the episode “The Song of Jigglypuff.”

We sat down and made these exciting Pokemon themed surprise bags. Each one contains 5 high quality vinyl Pokemon stickers and one Pokemon pin. The pins range from starter Pokemon to final evolve forms. A select few have fantastically silly expressions. The mystery loot bags are only $15 and make a wonderful gift. Each Pokemon Mystery Loot Bag has a large vinyl Pokemon sticker on the front. These stickers are the size of the five Pokemon stickers that are contained within. As a mystery bag, the pins and stickers are completely random.


Scyyyy-ther!

Piplup looks excited to meet his new trainer!

Winterfest at Post Falls City Hall is always a treat! It runs from 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m., December 1st, 2023. We hope to see everyone there!