By Julie Ann Madden

Posted September 17, 2013 at 8:36 pm

If you’re not into creating and collecting scarecrows, then a shopping spree at the Great Akron Scarecrow Festival & Contest this Saturday is the next best thing.

There are 40 crafters and vendors planning on exhibiting their crafts and wares for festival-goers.

There will be a large variety of products and things including fresh flowers, clothing, jewelry, “Coca-Cola” collectibles, girls’ hair bows, and artwork. Here are a couple vendors’ tales.

Tess’ Birdhouses

& Lawn Ornaments

Although Tess Buryanek of Westfield won’t be selling her famous pies at the Scarecrow Festival, she will be selling her granddaughter and grandson-in-law’s Boxer Bite Barbecue Sauce. And it’s a sure bet the Buryanek cooking talent has been passed on down the hereditary lines as Sarah and Nate Deters of Kansas City, Mo., are chefs.

Tess has also been busy crafting wood birdhouses, bird feeders and Halloween lawn ornaments to sell.

She ventured into the craft world as she neared retirement about 30 years ago. Now, Tess uses her artistic talents to paint and/or stain the small ornamental structures. The birdhouses look so real that one of the 13 in her yard actually became a wren’s home this summer.

Of course, the wren was pretty smart as some look like townhouses and condominiums. She also has stained gazebo-shaped bird feeders.

Tess picks up the plain wooden ornaments and bird structures, then decides what colors to use. One of her favorites she actually painted to see if she liked the colors well enough to paint her own home with them.

Although the birdhouse structures may be duplicates, it’s rare that any two of them are painted alike, said Tess, noting she will have a Westerner birdhouse for sale Saturday.

From Dumpster to Parlor

Dumpster-diving divas. Recyclable rescuers. Or maybe they’re just hoarders as their husbands think.

But Jennifer Kvidera of Sergeant Bluff and Lisa Wilson of Sioux City are creative crafters as they “re-purpose” furniture and household items.

“It’s fun things to do that we don’t necessarily have room in our own homes for,” Wilson said.

“Lots of junk,” laughed Kvidera. “Our purpose is to recycle things, bring them up to date, give them new life and save them from the landfill.”

“Old headboards become benches; old doors are now coffee tables; an old crib displays vintage doilies,” said Wilson.

And that is just the beginning, the duo recently went through the “garbage” leftover from a demolished house, and they have been busy creating home decor and artwork from the old chairs, doors, washtubs, wooden crates and the odds and ends of furniture they collected there.

“This stuff is really cute,” said Wilson. “Adorable.”

“Notice she says cute a lot,” laughed Kvidera as Wilson explained how she is taking the “ugliest ever table and chairs set that was baby puke in color,” fixing it, painting it black, reupholstering the chair seats…giving it new life.

They’ve roped Kvidera’s dad into being their carpenter and Wilson’s nieces create works of art on items such as old cupboard doors.

“This is our hobby,” said Wilson. “Kind of our stress reliever.”

“It’s what we do on our lunch hours — drive by flea markets and dumpsters,” said Kvidera.

“It’s amazing what people throw away,” said Wilson. “Much of it reminds me of things that my grandparents had…I hate to see that stuff get thrown away.”

Repurposed, it may just fit a spot in your home or office.

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