Creative Cottage has officially been open for six months, and owner Christine Ousley has a lot in store for the boutique craft shop.
The Cottage was opened on November 1, 2018.
Christine and her husband, a Winter Haven native, moved back to Polk County in February earlier that year, bringing Christine’s fabric business with them. With a home bursting at the seams with fabric, no space to cut it or efficiently run her business, and her inherent love of all things creative, Ousley opened The Creative Cottage.
“I’ve always wanted to have a shop and get people together,” said Christine. “That is one thing that I’m very passionate about, is getting people together to craft, to create, to have fun, and network.”
The Cottage offers DIY guided classes for paper crafts, wood and canvas painting, vinyl cutting, and other projects. Makers can use the Creative Cottage website to choose a customized project and set up or join a class.
With a typical class lasting between 2.5 and 3 hours depending on the project, Ousley’s shop is the perfect place for a girls’ night out or birthday party. Friends and family can bring food and wine to enjoy while getting crafty.
Recently, Creative Cottage has hosted a few professional crafters to teach a class of their own. This is something Ousley has wanted to do since her shop opened. She envisioned local artisans using Creative Cottage as a platform to share their craft with the community.
One such maker, is Lyndsey Venrick, owner of subversive cross-stitch business, Pin + Needle, and handmade jewelry store, Olive + Lemon.
Ousley approached Venrick at a Grove Root’s Moonlight Market about teaching a class at her shop.
Lyndsey’s first class at the Cottage was in March, though she’s done personal classes on the side before this.
“Prior to doing Pin + Needle full time, I was a trainer at State Farm. It was so rewarding, I LOVED teaching others and helping them master difficult concepts. I’m excited to have the opportunity to get back into teaching,” she said.
For the class, each of her students made their own custom hand-embroidered baseball cap, making it one of a kind by choosing the phrase and colors.
Her goal for the class was that participants would leave “with the ability to make their own hand-embroidered attire in the future.”
“I focused on the basics of wearable embroidery and how it can differ from the traditional hoop art, covering the necessary supplies and techniques they could use to recreate it again at home,” said Lyndsey. “A few of the girls came just to have a good time, but others mentioned their eagerness to get home and apply what they learned to other projects.”
Venrick was thrilled by the look on students’ faces when they saw their final product, saying, “Whether I’m teaching insurance, embroidery or anything- when a student realizes, ‘I can do this,’ it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.”
The Pin + Needle owner has a lot of shows going on at the moment, but would like to eventually do at least monthly classes, covering “a variety of skills – more hat and attire classes, introductory cross stitching, embroidery pattern making and more.” Follow her social medias @thepinandneedle for upcoming scheduled dates.
Ousley raved about Lyndsey, saying, “That was a fabulous class! Everyone absolutely loved it!”
The Creative Cottage has also featured Jennifer Romberger who has a business sewing specialty dog wear and accessories, to teach a customized coir doormat class.
Ousley says she would like to see a variety of artists teach there. Sketching, drawing, wood burning art, leatherworking, jewelry, and anything else.
Being Crafty and Not Messing it Up
For our first project at the cottage, we started small – a painted stencil design on a stained block of wood.
Step one was to weed the stencil using a small pick. With a few how-to tips from Christine, we used the pick to push down and pull up along the design. Small pieces of transfer tape were then layered all over the stencil to peel the back off a little more easily.
We carefully positioned it onto the block and “pounced” primer over it using a sponge applicator.
After the primer had dried, Christine pulled out color swatch paint sticks for us to choose the color we wanted to use. Using the same “pounce” technique, we painted over the primed area, being careful not to get moisture under the stencil.
Once the paint was dry, we peeled off the stencils, revealing a darling piece décor.
I’m not crafty by nature. I’ve been known to get paint in my hair, superglue my fingers together, and ruin a project by cutting the wrong end of the fabric, but the step by step instructions from Christine made it easy to follow along. I can’t wait to see what other classes and artists are added to the lineup!
109 Avenue C SE, Winter Haven, FL 33880