By Kelley Stanage
Debbie Olson’s love of crafting started when her daughters were young. Because she was drawn to vintage style, she didn’t want to go out and buy all brand new costumes, decorations and goody bags for her kids’ parties. She started creating them herself, which led her on a lifelong creative journey.
“I’ve been a crafter my whole life. I was doing craft shows and antique shows all over.” Olson has also been an antique dealer. She learned tatting and crocheting from her grandmother. Her love of antiques and crafting has taken her in a variety of directions, from cake decorating to quilting, to barn quilts and repurposing.
“I went bananas on quilts for a long, long time,” Olson said. She studied quilting at Olive Juice in the La Crosse area. The owner purchased some of Olson’s quilts at craft shows to display at Olive Juice. One of Olson’s quilts appeared in a quilting magazine article about Olive Juice.
“I always thought it would be fun to have my own shop some day, and here I am.”
In 2008, she decided to move into the building at 101 Main Street in Hokah and start her shop, “Uncommonplace.” She started out with all of her own antiques and crafts. The shop is filled with items she has made, such as quilts, holiday ornaments, barn quilts and home décor pieces.
Olson was inspired by a vintage stuffed bunny ornament, and using her sewing and crafting skills, fashioned ornaments of similar style. She’ll find a vintage quilt that is damaged, cut it down and bind the edges with an appropriate vintage fabric to make a wall hanging. Sometimes all an item needs is a frame.
Barn quilts and “repurposing” are Olson’s current passions. She took old rulers and scrabble tiles and repurposed them into Christmas and Valentines Day ornaments. Neckties – frequently made from lush silk fabrics – have been translated beautifully into elegant wreaths. She appreciates the fine workmanship of vintage linens, and repurposed a vintage tablecloth into a window valance. And, she found an old bedspring serves as a perfect display for ornaments.
She recently started selling products from other vendors. And, she’s always interested in finding individuals interested in repurposing. Olson would love to offer a “repurpose challenge” on Facebook. So, if you are a crafter, and you like a challenge, stop by to let her know! The shop and Facebook page offer ample sources of creative inspiration.