Brother, sister open crafts, furniture shops

NEIGHBORS

March 22, 1994|By MAUREEN RICE

Much can be said of the bonds of brotherly, and sisterly, love.

It even had something to do with two new businesses in Eldersburg that operate directly across from one another in Carrolltown Center.

Home Inspirations, a furniture store, and Simple Additions, a crafts shop, are run by Lea and Bob Carper, respectively.

Lea Carper, whose Hawaiian name, Leilani, was bestowed by parents stationed in Hawaii, decided in December to open her own furniture store when the two she managed in Hunt Valley came under new ownership.

At the time her brother Bob was struggling to recover from a serious motorcycle accident, and Lea thought the challenge of opening a new store would be beneficial for him.

"I just kept talking to him, explaining what he would need to do, and how much fun it would be," Ms. Carper said. "After a while he started smiling when I brought it up, and then jumped right in and got it done."

"We'll special order items for customers, [such as] wreaths, etc., to match their color schemes, and a lot of the time I can modify the items myself," Mr. Carper said.

"I've done a lot of changes to our leather items, changing the length of belts or the fringe, etc., and several times I've changed one of our pine cupboards so that it can be used as a corner cupboard.

"We stain wood to match a customer's choice, or we'll decorate it with their own wallpaper -- we want our customers to get exactly what they need, and it's fun. I think if it isn't fun, why do it?"

Mr. Carper is interested in finding more local crafts people and artisans to expand the line of items in his shop.

"I know there are a lot of good artisans around here," he said. "They just don't know I'm here yet. But anyone who makes interesting crafts, does woodwork, calligraphy, photography, paints, stained glass, etc. -- they should come in and talk to me. I'm interested."

Ms. Carper astounded her former colleagues, several of whom now work with her in her store, from the Hunt Valley stores by achieving what they felt was an impossible opening date for Home Inspirations -- Feb. 1, 1994.

She has an attitude similar to her brother's toward the items she stocks and sells.

"We have a lot of oak, and upholstered furniture that seems to be very popular with people in this area," she said. "We love it here. People here are so friendly we feel like we're right at home in the store, and that's a big change from the hustle and impersonality where we used to be."

The grand opening of Home Inspirations will take place from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.

Pastries, hors d'oeuvres and sparkling cider will be served. Everyone is invited.

Information: Home Inspirations, 795-3400; Simple Additions, 781-6785.

*

Thirty-nine students at Eldersburg Elementary School are going to publish their own school newspaper.

On Friday, they had their first meeting to discuss the new idea, and those who have never seen brainstorming in process would have learned a lot from these fifth-graders.

Using donated copies of The Sun, the students sought columns, stories, editorials, classifieds, weather and other features to become familiar with a newspaper and obtain ideas for their own.

"These children are very motivated," said Mary Katsafanas, a first-grade teacher who promoted the idea in the school. "They had to fill out an application to work on the paper and explain why they wanted to do so.

"We were surprised how many took the time to complete the application."

Ms. Katsafanas has worked closely with the school's PAL (Parents Advocating Literacy) committee, which last year opened the school's publishing center, where each student submits an original story and receives a bound book with the story printed inside.

Right now, the students are applying for different "editorial positions" they will hold in the next several months and concentrating on ideas for the paper's content.

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