Why buy run-of-the-mill, mass produced holiday trinkets when you can gift a loved one with a one-of-a-kind Christmas ornament or wreath?
Pierce County boasts dozens of crafters who have been busy this holiday season filling orders for customers choosing to shop from their friends and neighbors for unique Christmas treasures rather than with the click of a ‘buy now’ button on Amazon.
Tracey Davis and Linda Schenck are just a couple of local artisans who’ve been busy this month creating custom decorations and gifts made to order.
Both women have been honing their craft of wreath making and crocheting for years.
Davis first started weaving wreaths from grapevines and then began teaching herself other techniques — long before Youtube tutorials were instantly accessible. Schenck has been crocheting for so long, she rarely consults a pattern anymore.
Schenck began crocheting before she had children as a way to pass the time while her newly married husband was gone to work, but the pastime became much more than that through the years. Schenck relied on cash from crochet projects to supplement their income when her husband fell sick.
“My crocheting gave us money to never be on food stamps,” she recalls.
The hobby has also become a ministry for Schenck. She’s stitched items many family members and friends hold dear for their sentimental value. Schenck learned how to craft miniature ornaments and decorated a tiny tree for her aunt’s bedroom when she became bedridden and could no longer decorate her full size Christmas tree.
“God gave me a talent and I want to use that. It’s my way of giving back to the Lord,” she says.
Crafting is a stress reliever for Davis. After a long day at work, building wreaths or a bow give Davis a feeling of accomplishment and helps her unwind. Making money off her hobby is an added perk.
“It’s a big de-stresser. I enjoy doing it,” Davis says.
“It’s a stress reliever!,” she says.
Both women take pride in their work and insist on fixing anything that might go wrong with their creations after the customer takes them home, even seeing flaws most would never notice.
“I’ll say, ‘please bring that back and let me fix it’,” Schenck says with a laugh.
But, things rarely go wrong with their products. Handmade means well made, the women say.
“I take my time,” Davis says.
No two of Davis’ wreaths are identical. Neither are Schenck’s ornaments. Each one is unique.
“I’ve never made two exactly alike,” Davis says.
“When they get them (the ornaments) they just love them,” Schenck says. “You’re going to get something unique.”
Davis will attempt almost anything. Send her a photo of a wreath, Christmas tree topper or mailbox swag and just see what she can do. She’s up for most any challenge.
“I’ll at least try it!” Davis says excitedly. “I enjoy doing ones that aren’t just (for) holidays, but holiday-themed ones seem to sell (better).”
Schenck also takes custom orders for themed Christmas tree ornaments — red birds, Georgia bulldogs, etc. She’s even stitched owls, snowmen and bunnies.
Folks who buy items from Schenck or Davis are typically repeat customers, calling them year after year for gifts or decorations for their own home.
Schenck and Davis typically take their crafts to festivals in the area like Pecan Festival and Patterson’s Christmas in July, but the pandemic has caused them to turn to social media this season as the main avenue for selling their wares.
Look Schenck or Davis up on Facebook to see more of their crafty creations or give them a call. Shank’s Facebook group “creationsbylindaS” features a variety of her crocheted wares and Davis takes orders through Facebook as well. Call Schenck at 912-288-1871 or Davis at 912-550-3363.