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Gettin' crafty

8/9/2014

By JUDY SHERARD

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

BOGUE -- For most crafters, making things is a fun hobby.

Others use their skills to earn a little extra income.

But Mary Beth Rose has turned her crafting into a full-time business -- the Crafty Nut Hut.

The name fits because "I must be nuts to make all this stuff," she said with a laugh. "I do the handmade (items) because I like to make stuff. It is a dying art, actually."

She has a part-time job at the Bogue Post Office, but works full-time turning out craft projects.

"Starting in September or October, I'm not working eight hours in here," she said. "I'm working 18 hours a day, seven days a week."

Despite the long hours leading up to the holidays, crafting comes naturally.

"My mom was a big crafter," Rose said. "I remember one year, we didn't have money for ornaments, so mom made ornaments out of can lids."

She punched a hole in the lid for hanging, poured glue and scattered glitter. After one side dried, she did the other.

Rose started crafting on her own when she was 18.

Her mom didn't have time to show her when Rose asked to learn to make something, so she gave Rose the instructions and told her to figure it out.

Now, she makes some things without a pattern.

"I just do it. Things will hit me in the middle of the night, and I can't draw, so I'm awake all night so I can write it down or at least make it," Rose said.

She does have a pattern for the popular hot bowl hot pads she makes.

Users set a dish with food in the center of the hot pad. Then the whole thing goes in the microwave.

"When it's done, take it out like this (by the corner), so you don't burn your hand on the bowl."

The hot pads are washable and come in two sizes -- large and small -- and are especially popular as gifts.

Rose makes them in a variety of fabrics including some college teams. Those made from food fabrics also sell well.

She starts with two squares of fabric with notches to make the cup-like shape to fit the bowl. She cuts a large stack at a time.

The two layers of cotton batting are tucked inside the fabric squares.

One hot pad takes nine minutes to sew.

"I put the (sewing) machine in the middle of the living room, (and) I just sit here and sew. That's all I do," she said.

Rose also makes keychains and rosaries, including vehicle rosaries. Her latest idea is a pocket rosary because "there's some people that like to walk around with rosaries in their pocket."

The first full-sized rosary took eight hours to make. She's cut that down to an hour, and she can make four of the smaller vehicle rosaries in an hour.

She mostly works on them at night after supper while watching TV.

"I only use Czech glass beads or gemstone," Rose said. "I don't do the plastic. If you're going to lay out money for a rosary, I want you to have it for awhile."

Rose orders her beads for the year on Christmas Day.

"I sit there a long time on my computer looking at those beads trying to figure out what beads do I want to get," she said.

While purple and pink are popular colors for rosaries, she also sells many in more masculine colors.

Her tin man series that includes wind chimes and bird feeders, take a lot of work, but sells well.

Rose makes a trip to the Colby recycling center to dig through the discarded cans to get the material.

"I wheel my little cart in there, put my apron on and my gloves because you're digging through somebody's trash, and it's stinky sometimes," she said.

When she gets her load of cans home, she tears off the labels, sorts them and puts them away until she's ready to use them.

Rose looks for unique items to sell, such as the crocheted baler twine rugs she made not long ago.

"If a new item doesn't sell, I'm done with that," she said.

She sells at craft and home-based business fairs, as well as online.

In true home-based business fashion, when it isn't too hot in the summer, she converts her front porch into a store.

She sets up tables covered with handmade table cloths to display her wares.

"People who know who I am will come over and have a look," Rose said. "I just sell right off the porch."

She advises anyone starting crafting or opening their own business not to give up hope.

"It's taken me a long time to get where I'm at -- a long time. It's been worth it," she said.