Locals use crafting skills to create holiday gifts

A primitive snowman created by Kibler. Ashley Miller/Daily

Shopping malls and big box stores aren’t the only place in the valley to buy great holiday gifts. A lot of people looking for unique or homemade gifts head to local bazaars and craft shows where they find artists and crafters offering up custom-made wreaths, ornaments and even holiday cards.

Susan Kibler, owner of Primitives Handcrafted by Susan in Mount Jackson, has a passion for crafting. As a teenager, Kibler discovered her interest for it at her local church in Pennsylvania. After a brief hiatus, which included a wedding and children, Kibler rejoined the crafting world where she now sells items inspired by country décor.

“I’ve always loved country décor,” Kibler said. “Ever since I could remember. So I combined my love for both.”

For the past three years, Kibler has been designing primitive décor, including burlap wreaths, candle holders and mantle pieces.

“I’ve been evolving,” she said.

Her love for primitive décor has been felt around the county and even nationwide. “I mostly sell locally but have been known to send an item or two across the country,” she added.

The primitive trend has remained strong in the valley.

“Some people like the primitive look and some don’t,” Kibler said. Primitive décor tends to lend itself to time-worn furniture and grandmother’s quilts.

“We actually have an old chicken house on our property and I sort of just started digging around out there for old pieces of chicken wire and things that I could use,” she said.

Kibler said her passion is very self-gratifying.

“It’s humbling that people like my work,” Kibler said. “I make what I love. And, I’m glad they love what I do.”

Kibler can be found on Facebook under Primitives Handcrafted by Susan.

Victoria Beall, owner of Nonnie’s Cards and Gifts, an online gift store in Front Royal, took a leap of faith after some friends encouraged her to follow her passion.

“My crafting started as a hobby,” Beall said. “But then my friends started asking for specially designed cards and such.”

While Beall sells a wide variety of handmade items, she is most commonly known for her custom hand-designed cards. She takes pride in each design.

“I use quality inks and paper and other fine embellishments on every card I design,” Beall said. Categories for Beall’s cards include Bridal, Friendship, Halloween and Christmas. Cards range in price starting at $3.

Amy Eaton, owner of Creekside Farm, 16292 Gordon Lough Lane in Elkton, dedicates her greenhouse to bee- loving plants, dairy goats, pigs, chickens and honeybees.

“I enjoy making things from my little farm,” Eaton said. Among the jams and jellies, barbecue sauces, baked goods and pickled items, Eaton’s goat’s milk soap is by far the most asked for item at Christmas time.

“I use lard, goat’s milk, lye, fragrance or essential oils,” Eaton said.

Natural coloring such as turmeric, powdered alfalfa, powdered carrot and powdered beet create the various colors.

“I also add clays from different parts of the world,” she added. Some soaps even have honey from her honeybees. “My soap is literally clean, as natural as can be!” she said.

Eaton’s soap retails for $4.