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COVER STORY | 5 Crafty Suburban Gals


MEET THESE TALENTED CRAFTERS IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

There are many residents who love creating and dreaming up beautiful gift items, holiday decor and so much more. This month we feature five local women who do just that....and then some. Each is so very talented, you'll be impressed and inspired by their stories. We encourage you to support them by visiting their upcoming events and shopping at their store or at the local place of business where their crafts are on display. There's something for everyone on your list. 'Tis the season!

Melissa Bernas of Oswego Melissa is a total book nerd with a passion for the arts and crafts. She can recall sitting in her bedroom when she was young making Christmas ornaments out of pipe cleaners for her parents. In search for a book related holiday gift for her monthly book club members, Melissa decided to make paper Christmas trees out of book pages…..”and it completely took off from there!” After selling a few in her neighborhood, she launched Pretty Pages and began creating one-of-a-kind custom pages that brought new life to old stories.

“I scour used book stores and Etsy for just the right page coloring, size and text font,” Melissa says. “It's like a treasure hunt for me! My favorite pages are from a vintage French dictionary.” During the holidays, she likes to use Nutcracker pages and sheet music from Christmas songs; but can customize for any occasion including family names on wreath banners, books with a special meaning, or favorite songs on sheet music. Although the pages are typically black and white, the sky's the limit on the color of the lettering, ribbon, accent paper and printed pictures.

Her next market appearance will be at the Backroads Vintage Holiday Market at Emerson Creek Pottery. It’s a full weekend-long market on November 11th and 12th with a Sneak Peak Friday evening. www.facebook.com/prettypagesco/ –KK

Jacqueline Barney of Plainfield Jacqueline Barney from Plainfield started Create Design Live on a whim and never imagined that her passion to “create” would turn into the business it has today. At the time, she was working a full-time job as a Marketing Director and needed a creative outlet. Create Design Live started three years ago as a small online Etsy shop, and now sells locally to over eighteen (and counting) boutiques across the Midwest region as well as online. “I love the creative process,” says Jacqueline. “I have employees that help with production and shipping, so I can focus on designing new and unique pieces.”

Outside of being a small business owner, Jacqueline enjoys teaching aerial yoga and is a self-proclaimed coffee addict; however, she loves to spend most of her time in her creative space. “My customers fuel my fire. They support and encourage me every day and seeing their excitement over my work makes it ALL worthwhile,” says Jacqueline. Create Design Live creates handcrafted and personalized high-end home décor with a modern farmhouse feel. She loves creating pieces for the holidays and tries to come out with a new product line each year to help her customers freshen up their look.

In addition to making pieces for the home, Jacqueline loves styling them as well. “Interior decorating has always been a passion of mine,” she says. “As a crafty neighbor, I not only decorate my own home, but yours, too!” –KK

Anna Semprevivo of Glen Ellyn Art was always Anna Semprevivo’s favorite subject in school. She loves the challenge of creating and building a project. She grew up living a very creative life as her mom had an eye for art and interior design, and her dad taught her the art of photography and how to repurpose vintage pieces. Anna’s Glen Ellyn business, Locally Made, follows these passions, allowing her to spend her time creating custom craft pieces that she sells to people all over the Western suburbs. “Not only do I work on my own projects,” says Anna, “but I will create individual pieces from my buyer’s requests and ideas.”

Anna’s favorite part of her job is just the ability to create. Her husband, Michael, redesigned their garage to make it her workshop. They call it her “She-rage”, a cross between a She Shed and a garage. You can find her on her Locally Made Facebook page or on Instagram, and she always has an open-door policy to stop by the “She-rage” and see if she is out crafting.

Anna enjoys sharing her crafting knowledge with adults and children and often hosts parties for all to participate. Her two children Caroline (9) and Andrew (6) love to see the paints come out and have fun with their canvases whenever they feel creative. “It is such a joy to share my work,” says Anna, “and it makes it all worthwhile when someone loves their finished piece.” -MK

Debra Garrett of Naperville/North Aurora Debra is an easy going country girl from New Jersey who believes in being authentic and true to yourself. “Everything is created from love that is within each of our hearts,” she says. “Passion about compassion”; which is why she loves using anything with hearts for her crafting projects.

Growing up, her mother exposed her to art history and the world of ballet, while her dad’s custom home design center honed her talent for helping clients choose the right fit for their dream homes. Debra adores anything Parisian and French Impressionism, and now recreates furniture with a European French layered paint finish, amongst her many inspirational home décor and vintage offerings.

“Each piece I finish is its own beautiful unique creation just like each individual person is on their own unique journey in life.” Debra says. “Revive, Recreate, Repurpose, Refinish.” Encouraging and inspirational, heart felt quotes are the foundation for the signs she creates as constant reminders to seek the beauty of all little things and moments in life; as they are really the big things that matter most.

Debra lives this mantra daily in her own home with her husband and daughter. She hopes to pass along the joy of upcycling a piece of Great Grandma’s furniture to the younger generation as new modern home décor that holds a special meaning.

Be inspired by Debra’s ‘French and Fabulous’ creations at the Holly Jolly Market at the Vintage Market in North Aurora on November 11th and 12th. www.facebook.com/frenchandfabulous/

Christine Mocarski of Darien Christine AKA “Crafty” earned her nickname for putting her passion for creativity into action at her ‘Unique Boutique’ early in the 80’s in Darien. She and her neighbor friends would host good ‘ole fashion craft shows right in their own homes. They would invite anyone who wanted to show off their crafts, and then spread the word to the women of the neighborhood and church to shop freely at an open house.

Christine became known as the Angel Lady as she could make angels out of anything from blue jeans to handkerchiefs. As time went on, craft shows became more main stream and moved to larger venues.

By 2006, home parties for candles, purses, jewelry, and baskets were all the rage; but, no one was hosting in-home craft shows, so Christine’s daughter Julie suggested trying it again in Naperville. She opened her home using the original name, Unique Boutique, hosting 20+ crafters presenting exclusive homemade items. Over the years, Julie had learned from her mother to use her imagination while exploring the endless possibilities of what you can do with an ordinary object. She caught the craft bug and her friends fully understand the idiom, “one man’s trash is another’s man’s treasure”; thus creating her snowmen from old shutters and distinctive holiday frames. This dynamic duo’s crafts will be highlighted at Eisenhower Junior High in Darien on November 11th and at the Deck the Hall Boutique located at 2381 Inverness Court in Aurora on November 16th and 17th. –KK

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