Knack for decorating turns into a business

October 17, 1994|By Shirley Leung | Shirley Leung,Sun Staff Writer

She says it's just a hobby.

But Connie Lou Dice spends at least two days a week at a work table in her basement, crafting scarecrow wreaths, spider web wreaths, straw wreaths, red felt bells, pumpkin bells and washcloth ghosts for her customers.

The 62-year-old Brooklyn Park resident talks about opening her own shop or displaying on the craft show circuit. She keeps her prices low and worries about competition.

"There's so much competition out there," Mrs. Dice said. "You really need to have something people really want."

For Halloween, her busiest season besides Christmas, people have wanted her scarecrow wreaths made from paper autumn leaves, a crinkled orange ribbon and a scarecrow with a purple hat. So far she's sold 30 of them.

"Everyone decorates for Halloween now, it's almost like Christmas," Mrs. Dice said.

She sells her Halloween crafts cheaply -- all under $10 -- to neighbors, friends and bowling mates.

"I love it. It's made so uniquely," said next-door neighbor Barbara Evans who bought one of Mrs. Dice's scarecrows along with about 15 other items.

Mrs. Dice said she's always had a knack for decorating. She's never taken a course on craft making but seems to know how to make something she sees.

"I went around to craft shows and I looked," she said. "I was buying them all, and I said I can do this!"

Despite Mrs. Dice's lack of training, her crafts have won awards.

Last summer, her black-eyed Susan broom doll took second place at the Lansdowne United Methodist Church craft fair competition. The previous summer, she and her sister captured the blue ribbon at the same contest for a lace doll.

The secret to making unique crafts, said Mrs. Dice, is improvising. For example, she first saw scarecrow wreaths in Florida. She liked the idea, but thought the wreaths were too plain so she added more orange and yellow paper leaves and an orange, paper-twist ribbon.

Her tools in her makeshift basement workshop are simple: a glue gun, a pair of scissors, a ruler and rolls of ribbon. Her approach to buying supplies also is simple: She only gets them when they're on sale.

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