Dear Sun Spots: Does anyone know the name of any specialty shops in tourist towns that buy handmade items? I would like to know where, other than craft shows, to go about selling (or taking custom orders) for quilting, sewing and other work that I offer. A friend said this was the best way to find the answer. Thank you! – Natalie, Leeds.

In addition to responses from readers, while we are not aware of any specific businesses that do this, we spoke with a friend who was interested in selling homemade jewelry on consignment at a few stores. She suggests going to the stores, approaching the owner or manager directly and ask how much they are willing to give you for your items. She also notes that the best way to sell your items is on eBay; that way you will earn 100 percent of the profits.

Dear Sun Spots: I am writing to remind people that while we all face the same economic downturn, please do not forget how tough this holiday season will be for a lot of children. Maine has many wonderful fundraisers for many causes over the holiday season, and this year is going to be much harder than past years for those in need. Please think about what you can do to help. Items may be purchased at stores such as The Family Dollar or Mardens and may be brought to a local fundraiser or your local elementary and middle schools, or churches. These places may also provide you with names of families who will have a difficult holiday season. Other ideas to help in your communities during the holidays might be monetary donations to food pantries, The Good Shepherd Food Bank, homeless shelters and animal shelters. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a lot to make a difference. – Natalie Raye, Twin Cities Air Service, Auburn.

Dear Sun Spots: Last Christmas my mother purchased three $25 gift certificates to a local Chinese buffet. Every time we go to the establishment they say they cannot honor them because the restaurant has been sold. The name of the restaurant has not changed and there was no article in the newspaper saying they would no longer be honored. Could you please find out if this can be done or do the gift certificates still have to be honored? Thank you. – Sue, Lewiston.

Answer: Sun Spots spoke with a representative at the Maine Department of Treasury who said that whether or not the new owners have to honor the gift certificates depends on the terms of the sales agreement. She noted that some businesses are not aware that gift certificates are part of the agreement and it may be a simple misunderstanding. She suggests talking to a mediator at the Attorney General’s office. E-mail a mediator at [email protected], call 207-626-8800 or send a letter describing your situation to: 6 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333.

Dear Sun Spots: Thank you for such a great column. We have a 30-foot balsam fir tree to give away. We’ll cut you haul. Would make a good community tree. Please call 966-2663. – The Halls, Hebron.

Dear Sun Spots: The Franklin County Children’s Task Force is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the well-being of children in the Franklin County area. Our Growing Healthy Families Program serves approximately 86 first time parents. We also have a clothing exchange that serves children birth to 5 years old. You have been so helpful to us in the past; we are once again asking your generous readers for some help. We are in need of gently used, clean winter clothing and baby furniture for the families we serve. We would greatly appreciate any and all donations.

If you have any questions please feel free to call us at 1-888-429-6960 or 778-6960. The Franklin County Children’s Task Force is at 113 Church St., Farmington, ME 04938. Thank you in advance for supporting the families in Franklin County. – Janice Crandall, assistant to the executive director.

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