Ready for some inspiration? Members of Western were kind enough to share some of their arts and crafts projects. Check out what they have been working on!
|Margaret Horak’s dolls look ready to dance.|
Many families pass their kroj down through the generations as a cherished symbol of their Czech and Slovak culture. Another way to enjoy the traditional dress of the ancestors, and celebrate its use today, is through a doll.
Margaret Horak, a long-time member of Bannister No. 225 (Bannister, MI), started creating smaller versions of the kroj dress about 30 years ago to adorn girl dolls ranging from 13½” to 17” high.
She orders the dolls, but then makes their costumes by hand. With fabric from items handed down to her, or from people who think she might enjoy their materials, as well as keeping a keen eye out for more, Horak recycles the material for use into patterns for the small costumes. Each design can take some time, with loving hand-stitching and embroidery detail.
|Youth dancers from Bannister wearing their costumes (2012).|
She sells the costumed dolls at local craft fairs and to people who inquire. The red-skirted dolls are especially popular with fans of Bannister’s Czech dance group, who wear the same costume. Horak has created a doll for many of her grandchildren, most of them dancers as well. The dolls are a special reminder of how she has been able to share the love of dancing with her family through the generations.
“It connects me to my heritage, my parents, and grandparents. We are a close-knit family who enjoys sewing and traditions,” she replied when asked what she enjoys about making the dresses. People like the dolls, and ask for ones similar to their own, or ones their own families wore.
Horak will continue to work on the costumes. If you are interested in contacting her about a doll, telephone her at (989) 862-5027.
Love pianos, but just can’t play? It turns out, the modest piano can become a statement piece for your home.
|The finished piano by Sandi Seaver is a statement piece and functional wine bar in one.|
Cedar No. 7 (Cedar Rapids, IA) member Sandi Seaver has been refurbishing furniture for a long time. Recently, she saw some piano-themed ideas on Pinterest and decided to embark on her most time-consuming project to date.
First, she and her husband Russ found a free piano via Craigslist. Second, Russ took the insides out of the piano. Removing the insides made the piano silent and considerably lighter. With much of the weight removed, it was ready to come inside for the rest of the work. A classy gloss-black was chosen to paint the piano. Then, tiles were used on the back. The piano keys were restored with new covers, glued in, and then covered with glass to create a functional but beautiful surface.
Wine glass holders were installed under the top lid. Color-changing LED lights were put in the top and bottom sections of the piano. Finally, the bottom half was outfitted with wine racks and a wine fridge the Seavers purchased.
Sandi is considering doing another piano project as she has seen some put on sale. She continues to work on other furniture pieces for the time being.
Call 877-935-2467 to speak with a Western Fraternal Life Representative.