Life is full of little pleasures, some that come and go, some continue throughout and some we come back to. Working with wood, paint and creating unique Christmas ornaments is one of those little pleasures that Val Moench has returned to after a two decade sabbatical.
“This year is the first year that I have made ornaments in over 20 years,” said Moench. “I’m happy to have time to do it again. I didn’t realize how much I missed my little hobby.”
Moench first realized how much she enjoyed crafting with wood and painting back in 1981, when her husband at the time was stationed at Fort Benning, Ga. She took a painting class, which soon developed into a hobby for her, but it wasn’t until she moved to Schofield Barracks in Hawaii that she realized her hobby could make her money and she started participating in the craft fair at the Officers Club. A move to Washington followed; where she continued to create ornaments and other items, including furniture, cabinets and shelves, just to name a few.
“It is very relaxing for me and I enjoy wood working and painting. I am so happy to be able to cut my own ornaments out of the wood I purchased, then sanding, painting and selling them,” said Moench. “It keeps me busy and it is something that I enjoy. It is a good feeling to see customers’ reactions to my creations. Since my ex-husband was in the military, I used this as my source of income at every location we were at.”
Some locations were more active and successful than others. At Fort Bragg, NC, Moench was the assistant manager at the Officers Wives’ Club craft boutique, where she kept busy interacting with customers and creating more merchandise upon hearing what customers wanted to buy.
Moench mainly works with wood and this year she branched out a bit to expand on that by trying wood burning, a suggestion from her son. Moench has discovered that she truly enjoys this aspect of woodwork and has incorporated it into her creations.
“I’m really enjoying that and the aroma it creates,” she smiled. “I have used fabric and other craft materials, but I am trying to keep my inventory minimal at this point since I have moved into an apartment and don’t have my shop for wood working.”
Less room has not slowed her up much though, as she recently made a shelf and a small end table for friends and she has ideas still in the planning stages that she is looking to sell at T&T Creations in Shelby.
“Some ideas will come from creations that I have seen somewhere, with my own twist, or I suddenly have an idea pop into my mind and go with it,” she said. “I like to put my own personal touch on my work. My friends and family are very helpful coming up with different ideas also.”
Moench has been hard at work since October, crafting ornaments fast and furiously in order to have them done in time to sell for Christmas. She tends to make multiple items at a time, due to drying time, which allows her to create more in less time compared to doing each ornament individually.
Her work can be purchased at T&T Creations, located on Main Street in Shelby, and she does her best to keep her inventory affordable. Most items are priced to sell at $5, some less, some for more, but generally the $5 price tag covers it.
“I do make custom-made ornaments, if you would like a personalized ornament I would love to accommodate your wishes,” said Moench. “I’m thinking of setting up an Etsy website. So you may look for that in the future months. If you have an idea for an ornament or any other item, please contact me to see if I might be able make it.”
Moench loves new ideas and encourages anyone who has an idea or would like something made to contact her to see if it is something she would be able to do. To purchase her ready-to-sell items visit T&T Creations or you can give her a call at (406) 460-7187 to check them out or share your ideas.