HANCOCK COUNTY — From young mothers to savvy business owners, residents across Hancock County are using their imaginations and a little elbow grease to bring a personal touch to their surroundings.
Whether they’re embracing do-it-yourself projects to enhance customer service, to make living spaces more unique or to give one-of-a-kind gifts, local DIY’ers have one thing in common — they’re combining everyday objects with some free time to create something new and different.
Such is the case with Lindsey Milburn, 26, who said she uses craft projects to make her home feel more special.
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It started with a few little projects around the house.
“Once we bought our home, I started to get all these ideas to make it feel more special, more unique,” she said.
The married mother of one, who lives in Greenfield, said that she likes to work with recycled materials like wine bottles and fabric remnants from craft stores.
Since her first project more than a year ago, Milburn has re-upholstered furniture, painted inspirational thoughts on glass and even started a small business called Sassy and Classy Creations. Since then, she said she’s started turning to sites like Pinterest for additional ideas.
“I live on that site,” Milburn said. “I’ll get my ideas and then go to garage sales all day. It’s amazing what you can do with little things.”
Whether she’s creating new tie-backs for her curtains of crafting presents for friends, Milburn said she finds herself just letting her mind wander.
“I love to have a glass of wine and get lost in the work,” she said.
She isn’t the only local mom who likes to create in her spare time. Kelly Teater, 39, of New Palestine, said she’s been creative since childhood.
“I think I get it from my Dad, but I’ve always been into something — whatever I can get my hands on,” she said.
Teater doesn’t focus on just one type of DIY project at a time. She frequently has several things in the works, including jewelry and painting.
“I do a little bit of everything,” Teater said. “It’s whatever strikes me at the time. I’m always going through phases.”
Much like Milburn, she also goes online for ideas and will often use the inspiration from others to create handmade gifts for those she loves.
“I’ll see something on that lovely little thing called Pinterest, run to the store and grab what I need and try to make it,” Teater said. “I like that I can make these beautiful things for cheaper than I could buy them in the store. I really like to give something nice that really doesn’t cost much other than time.”
The projects sometime take over her home, with items sprawled out in several rooms.
“It’s kind of a curse and a blessing,” Teater said. “I love to spend all day bouncing around from one place to another. It soothes my soul. I think everyone needs an outlet, and these DIY projects happen to be mine.”
One local business owner also turned to a DIY project to help bring something special to his store. Chet Hockett, 40, is the owner of Greenfield Jewelry and Coin and used thousands of coins to create a penny floor for visitors to ogle.
“We did this when we opened,” Hockett said. “It was definitely a team effort to finish the floor.”
Hockett said he saw the idea on YouTube and thought it would be a perfect addition to his store’s coin room.
“We did it just like you imagine, one penny at a time,” Hockett said.
At the end of the day, the floor took 180 hours of work and 74,312 pennies (yes, he counted).
For those doing the math, it comes out to about $2.50 a square foot.
Once the pennies were laid, epoxy grout and wax were used to finish and adhere the money to the floor.
For now, Hockett said he has no other plans to expand the penny room, but that he loves to see the reaction of shoppers when they see it.
“People seem to love it,” Hockett said. “It’s a coin room, so the penny floor is kind of perfect.”