It's definitely time to gather ye goodies while ye may, and from duck paintings to apple-head dolls, silhouettes to ceramics, you have your pick this weekend. The season's sales and auctions are partytime affairs. Here are some of them:
The Audubon Naturalist Society's holiday extravaganza has the fairest setting. The Woodend mansion at 8940 Jones Mill Road in Chevy Chase will be open to nature-lovers this Saturday and Sunday, 10 to 4. Wood-carvings, books and calendars, birdhouses and seed, wildlife paintings and drawings, all with nature themes, will be on sale. A wood-sawing contest will earn some strong arm a load of split oak. Nature trails, maple-camdy demonstrations, leather crafts, handmade decorations, macrame, basketry and a greenhouse sale supplement the lunch counter and baked goods. At 2 o'clock both days, an auction of wildlife art will include antique prints and original paintings.
Americana freaks should note a potpourri of crafts, folk art and Victorian Christmas ornaments at the George Washington Bicentennial Museum Shop, 201 South Washington Street in Alexandria, Monday through Saturday 10 to 4:30. A book of American proverbs and folksayings, three-cornered hats, tiny pinecone nosegays, hand-winding music boxes, a triptych of miniature drawings of Old Town's federal homes, Christmas cards of GW's Alexandria home and an assortment of pewter and brass lead the list of gift items. The museum shop's bayberry-scented country store is stocked with cornhusk dolls made by members of the Virginia Mountain Craft Guild. All proceeds go toward college scholarships for Virginia high-school students.
There's plenty of holiday action on the gallery front. Weaving spinning, potters' wheel and block-print fabric demonstrations will be held at Gallery 342, Saturday 11 to 5 and Sunday 12 to 5. The craft co-op at 324 North Fairfax Street in Alexandria will donate proceeds from sales to Children's Hospital for neurofibramatosis research.
Jack Perlmutter's Studio Days, an annual event that crams lithographs, etchings, woodcuts and drawings into a limited space, will be highlighted by a large number of oil paintings this year. The 11th annual celebration will be held Saturday and Sunday, 10 to 5, at 2511 Cliffbourne Place NW. Perlmutter will give a talk and demonstration on creative printmaking each afternoon at 2, and refreshments and "souvenirs" are promised.
Farther out, The Compleat Gallerie at 2924 Hunter Mill Road in Oakton offers craft demonstrations by local professional artists. Stocking-stuffers, original art and tree ornaments will be on sale, daily 10 to 5 and Sunday 1 to 5, through Christmas Eve.
Fascinating curios will be piled high at the Dranesville Tavern Christmas Boutique (Route 7, 10 miles west of Tysons Corner). On Saturday and Sunday, 11 to 5, Helen Laughon will use the "camera obscura" technique to make silhouettes of visitors and Bill Cook will display handmade white-oak baskets, including his seven-foot-high prize-winner noted on "Ripley's Believe It Or Not." There'll also be handwoven coverlets, soft-sculptured dolls, quilted tree ornaments and home-baked breads and cookies. Admission to the third annual boutique ($1, under 16 75 cents) includes recipes for traditional English plum pudding and a wassail bowl.
Pottery and more pottery: "The Free Hands" ninth annual Christmas show tempts lovers of stoneware, salt-glazed porcelain and earthenware to St. John's Child Development Center, 5005 MacArthur Boulevard NW, on Saturday from 11 to 5 and Sunday 12 to 4. Some fiber art, paintings and drawings will accompany the pottery. The eight artists began their careers together in a Northwest basement studio, and now return to Washington from far-flung studios for an annual holiday show. Montgomery Potters' semiannual show and sale will be held at Garret Park Town Hall (10814 Kenilworth Avenue; Friday 6 to 9, Saturday 10 to 5 and Sunday 1 to 5), with many styles of ceramic art and functional tableware, including Christmas ornaments, clocks. planters and wind chimes.
Sunday, noon to 5, two Annandale artists will open their studio to the public. Joan Graybeal-Menard's etchings and Mary Ellen Geissenhainer's weavings will be on sale at 7054 Lanier Street.
Jewelry, woodwork, stained glass and leather join the pottery procession at Gaithersburg's fourth annual holiday arts and crafts show, Saturday 10 to 5 and Sunday 11 to 4. Gingerbread houses the kids can make will be available at the Community Center, 810 South Frederick Avenue.
Chagall, Miro, Dali, Rockwell and Calder have works up for grabs at the Holy Redeemer fourth annual art auction, Saturday at 9715 Summit Avenue in Kensington. The art goes on view at 7, the auction starts at 8. After a $2.50 entry fee there are free hors d'oeuvres, a door prize and cash bar.
A silent auction at Green Acres School, 11701 Danville Drive, Rockville, will be part of the bake sale-soup kitchen-kids corner bazaar lineup on Saturday, 10:30 to 3.
Finally, editorial cartoonist Herblock will be autographing his latest book, "Herblock on All Fronts," Saturday from 1 to 2 as part of the Church of the Epiphany's annual bazaar. Music by the Washington Bach Consort, dance by the Greg Reynolds Dance Quintet and arts and crafts on sale will fill out the bill. Booths will be open 11:30 to 4:30 and lunch will be served from 11:30 to 3.