Holiday crafts abound at Parkrose home

Discover why neighbors came to outer East Portland from far and wide, to spend an afternoon at ‘Prism House’

Inside this Parkrose farm house is alive with activities as neighbors make crafts together.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

In many ways, the large circa-1915 farmhouse on NE 112th Avenue looks like many other older homes in the Parkrose neighborhood.

But, during the past year, this residence – called the “Prism House” by its owners, because of the many cut-glass windows – has become a gathering space for artists and events.

Prism House hosts Chris Montanaro and Samantha Montanaro say they enjoy having their home filled with neighbors and friends, having a good time.

“Today, we’re hosting our second annual ‘DIY Open House’,” said hostess and co-owner Samantha Montanaro at the December 4 gathering.

“This is a free community crafting event, a space for people to come together to create gifts for others,” Montanaro told East Portland News.

“This was an idea we’d had before we bought the house,” Montanaro said. “When we bought this house, I could not wait to be able host activities such as these. What I like to do is to create unique gatherings, for people to come together ‘with intention’.

“I think a lot of neat things happen when people do that,” explained Montanaro. “When people give love, good feelings, and all those good kinds of things, good things come of it.”

In the kitchen, Richard Smith and his son, Jaxin Smith are decorating cookies.

On the way in, participants dropped off gifts of warm clothing for teens in Parkrose School District’s Gateway Project.

Crafts weren’t only limited to the living room and kitchen; guests were crafting all over the house!

“There are all sorts of crafting rooms, including two different types of ornament-making areas; a card-making area; there’s also cookie decorating, wreath-making, essential oil room spray, and gift boxes you can buy from friends of mine who make local artisan products,” Montanaro pointed out.

In the dining room, Katherine Darby and Earl Darby are fashioning a Holiday wreath.

Last year, she put on a prototype event with help from Parkrose Neighborhood Association Chair Annette Stanhope. “This year we have a bunch of sponsors so we have a bit more of a budget and be able to able to provide more craft materials,” she said.

And, the new Parkrose Grocery Outlet donated food and beverages for the event.

“I do this because I want to give back to our community,” Montanaro said.

“Giving back is something that’s been lost, with the way our culture has evolved over the last 50 years; and, in a way the Internet has created a real disconnect between people.

“So, I want to host gatherings to which people want to come; events that aren’t super-intimidating – and in this case, those who come will be able to walk away with gifts they, or their friends or family, will treasure,” she added.

Making Holiday decorations, Kerry Hamilton and her daughter Mia Hamilton are painting dough-craft ornaments.

With the house buzzing with conversation, laughter and crafting, it seems that the hostess got her wish.

Find out more about Prism House by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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