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United Methodist Women Kick Off Fall Crafts Season

Hundreds of residents flocked to the 45th annual crafts fair hosted by the United Methodist Women at St. Andrew's United Methodist Church Oct. 27.

 Selling crafts ranging from handmade canes to hand-knit scarves, more than 40 area crafters gathered at St. Andrew's United Methodist Church in Brandon Oct. 27 for the 45th annual United Methodist Women Craft Fair.

Among those reporting a successful days of sales were Shari Ellis and Diane Klingler of Valrico, who create handmade scarves, purses, wreathes and other items made from recycled materials.

"We're doing very well today," said Klingler, noting that the duo has signed up for several more craft fairs taking place in the area.

Abby Rothrock, an art teacher at Stowers Elementary School in FishHawk Ranch, is just now tapping the crafts fair circuit after discovering a unique craft by accident.

She purchased a kiln and was testing it out on discarded wine bottles. When she removed the bottles from the kiln after firing them at 1,400 degrees, she found the melted bottles could be used as cheese trays or spoon holders. She now sells the melted bottles, embellishing them with beads and painting.

One of the younger crafters at the show was 13-year-old Mayla McPadden of Brandon whose business is called Repurposed 4 You.

"Everything is made from recycled materials," she said, pointing to a water bottle holder made from her dad's old Army fatiques. The young entrepreneur also makes owl knick-knack holders out of toilet paper rolls and bracelets from old belts.

Riverview resident and Mulrennan Middle School civics teacher Frank Buehler nearly sold out of his hand-carved wood pens during the show. He's been creating wood and colorful acrylic pens for about 10 years, working out of a makeshift studio in his garage.

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