My friend Susie moves about our neighborhood like a woodland sprite, leaving handmade ornaments in her wake.
They appear like magic every December, right around the time we put up our Christmas tree. I never see her coming or going, the ornaments just appear in a puff of fairy dust.
This year’s ornament arrived and it’s a perfect representation of 2020. Last year, Susie managed to get every single member of our eclectic family represented on that tree and, this year, the ones who live here have been looking to make sure their ornament reappeared.
It turns out, Susie has been making cool things for most of her life.
“I have always loved making things and being crafty,” she said. “In seventh grade I made Sesame Street Puppets and went door to door selling them!”
She began making Christmas ornaments several years ago after she received one as a gift.
“I still have it. I remember thinking it was really cute and thought, ‘Hmmm, I could make one of these’ I went to the library and found a book on dough crafts and, through trial and error, made some ornaments. My first show was at a ladies house from church and I sold out of my stock in a couple hours,” she said. “I ended up doing the business for about 12 years, Susie’s Shenanigans, was my name and it was such a blessing.”
“My sister, Katie and a good friend, Colette would come over three to four days a week and we would make ornaments from March through October. We all had little ones and they would play together while we crafted and chatted. They were good days! We would do about 40 shows during the holiday craft season.”
Over the years, as she and her husband Brian made several moves and their family grew, Susie had less time to devote to her “Shenanigans”, though she still made ornaments for gifts. When the family moved to Appleton, Susie discovered the Appleton North Artisan Faire and she began selling the ornaments again.
“I love selling them at shows because they make people think of the ones they love and like to share their stories. The best-selling ornament has always been the dog bone,” she said.
This year, due to COVID the art fair was cancelled, though, if you’d like to order an ornament from her, you can contact her at this very clever email address: Hereidoughagain@gmail.
Of course, Christmas ornaments aren’t the only thing that keeps Susie busy. She and Brian are raising an amazing family that includes seven kids and four grandchildren. I enjoy the bubbly way she describes her clan.
“Kelly and my son in-law Sean live in Houston with two adorable girls Frankie (2) and Millie (10 months). Kelly is an amazing hairdresser and Sean runs a gym. Heidi is the office manager at a private Christian school in Englewood, Colorado and this year adopted two amazing girls, Gabbi (7) and Ella (5). Brian will finish law school in the Spring at Temple University and works full time at the DA’s office in Philadelphia. Benjamin is a First Lieutenant in the Marines and is now stationed in Palm Desert, California. Grace teaches Kindergarten at the same School Heidi works at in Englewood, Colorado. She lives with Heidi and the girls and is an amazing aunt. Bruce graduated from Hope College in May and is now working for Aerotek in Colorado and lives near his sisters. Omega is taking a break from college during this Covid mess.”
I asked about any other artwork she had done and Susie said she once painted a mural on their kitchen wall that depicted a farm scene and she hid all seven children in a “Where’s Waldo” way throughout the piece.
I would love to see that piece.
Thank you very much to the gnome outside our home for all of these beautiful treasures.