There’s a saying about people in our part of the world that claims if Pittsburghers have to cross rivers or bridges to get somewhere, they just don’t go.
I’m sure this expression has its roots in a time when transportation was not as readily available and fewer roads made getting around more difficult and time consuming. There are probably some who still adhere to this philosophy, but when the destination is tempting or important enough, most of us will gladly go for a ride... Even if it means leaving Cranberry.
The annual Global Girl Gifts open house in Bridgeville, an event that occurs once a year, is one of those destinations. I get excited just thinking about it!
G3 is a jewelry and accessories company that Kelly Sobczak, a friend’s sister, created and manages. After workingin New York City for the French government's tourist office, she quit her job and took off for the trip of a lifetime -- 18 months of travel around the world.
During her travels she visited villages in the Middle East, Africa and Asia and amassed quite a cache of local artisans’ handicrafts that she brought back to share with family and friends. The gifts were well-received by friends and friends of friends, prompting her to start Global Girl Gifts.
Each year, she spends three months traveling to remote parts of the world where she revisits her artisan connections and searches for new craftspeople and products to offer at the annual open house. On Saturdays, she also operates in the Strip District from a vendor space in front of Stamoolis Brothers.
I attended my first G3 open house last year. Kelly and her sisters convert the entire first floor of the home they share into a boutique filled with so many necklaces, bracelets, rings, scarves, earrings, purses, shawls and brooches that it’s hard to take it all in during one visit.
I think I almost started hyperventilating when I first entered the house.
After a few calming breaths, I proceeded to roam from room to room, lost in a sea of well-organized treasures. Eventually I developed a game plan for my purchases—one for me, one for gifts, one for me, one for me, one for me… You get the idea.
I would have liked to have purchased one of just about everything available, but the sisters offer hundreds of items. Though the prices are quite reasonable, ranging from $5 and more, my budget is not limitless.
In the end, I came away with a beautiful amethyst-colored silk scarf made by a woman in the north Thailand city of Chiang Mai,a stunning turquoise necklace also from Thailand, a stretchy beaded bracelet from Bali in Indonesia, a shell and horn bag from Vietnam and a hand-tooled leather journal from India.
I also purchased some fun gifts for my sister and my niece. Every piece has a story that makes the gift even more special.
The open house runs for two weekends, June 2-4 and June 9-11. Hours are noon to 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. If you decide to make the drive from Cranberry, the Global Girls live in the South Hills at 620 Chestnut Street in Bridgeville. You don’t need an invitation, and you don’t need to RSVP. Everyone is welcome. Just tell them the Chick sent you.
Be sure to bring a brown paper bag with you when you go, though. You’ll need it when you start to hyperventilate.