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Christmas Carol

 By Karen Booy, Ewe & Me Pattern Co., 
Crafting the American Dream, and CRAFTLINK Newsletter.

 

Carol Moore is passionate about Christmas, even her name rings of the holidays. Known for her simple but stunning designs, Carol has been an innovator and craft trendsetter. Her business name Carol Moore Designs says it all…

Carol simply can’t remember a time when she wasn’t busy making something. After the birth of her first child, Carol wanted to make money without leaving home so selling her crafts seemed like a natural thing to do. She began selling dough art and was soon pioneering a new way to market her handcrafted wares with a home show. As her business and family grew, she opened her own gift shop The Country Wreath in White Rock. Within a short time the shop became well known for it’s wonderful selection of handcrafted and specialty giftware items. 

During the holiday season the narrow shop was transformed into a Christmas wonderland with trees, garlands, wreaths and hundreds of tiny white lights. Although the store was not extremely large Carol made excellent use of her space by displaying crafts and gifts on antiques and Christmas trees. As you followed the cleverly twisting path through the store, you were never sure just what might be around the next corner. In the background soft Christmas music set the mood, as soaps and potpourri provided a feast for the senses. The Christmas experience that Carol was able to create in her shop attracted customers from far and wide. Canadian Living crafts editor, Anna Hobbs heard about Carol and stopped for a visit. Soon Carol was designing for the popular magazine and her choir angels were chosen to grace the cover of the Canadian Living Glorious Christmas Crafts hardcover book in 1988.

After four years Carol sold The Country Wreath and returned home to work. Looking back Carol is certain that what she really needed was a break. “Three months after I sold the store I regretted it, but I made the decision and just got on with it.”  And get on with it she did. Carol moved her business into the garage and soon began teaching craft classes and creating product for craft shows. 

In 1995, Carol was featured in Canadian Living magazine with an article on home craft sales, a concept that she had created so many years before. Like so many things in Carol’s life, she was coming back full circle. The Canada-wide exposure and the resulting popularity of the home sale forced it’s move into a nearby hall and the show was renamed, Christmas at the Country Hall. Today the blended show features over 20 crafters and could fill a hall twice its size. “We had already outgrown the hall the first year we were there but there is just nothing that we can rent that is larger and close by.”

Three years ago, her former landlord approached Carol wanting her to sign a three-month lease on the old gift shop. Running a shop was still not out of her system, so Carol quickly answered yes and nearly wore herself out trying to get the store prepared, stocked and decorated for the short selling season. At the end of December she had to decide if she was going to continue the lease, “I decided, I’m out of here”, laughs Carol. “You should have seen the look of relief on my husband’s face!” 

After that grueling holiday season Carol decided life was passing by too quickly, she wanted to stay at home and enjoy her animals, take more time to travel and not have to get up everyday to rush off to a shop.

Carol started to plan the next phase of her business, creating a studio to work and teach classes. Her brother, Bob Falk built her 1000 square-foot design studio, complete with rock fireplace, veranda and gables. The studio sits snugly behind her home and her garage and a cobblestone path leads students from the driveway to the exciting classes inside. A huge table fills the studio and there are boxes and bags, trees and garlands, all in preparation for Carol’s Christmas craft class preview and registration held September 8th – 10th. In true Carol Moore fashion, the studio is transformed into a Christmas extravaganza where students preview the fall craft classes. Each class project is wonderfully displayed to entice the student to sign up. 

The classes are designed by Carol to be fun and easy, yet look expensive and difficult. Class fees include all the supplies and Carol precuts the fabric. Carol explains “people like the decorating part. They don’t want to come and sew or cut out fabric. I do that all that for them so they can just do the fun part. This also let’s them finish their project more quickly.” Carol carefully shops for the finest in supplies, “why spend the time and go cheap? I believe in good quality fabrics and ribbons, I buy the best.”

For many of the class projects, Carol starts with a pre-sewn doll body and then teaches her students how to transform the simple shape into a Santa, a snowman or an angel. Her creative yet simple designs, have students often thinking, “how come I didn’t think of that?” Carol has a flare for the easy, yet elegant. But of all the classes, Carol is most famous for her “no-sewing required” Carolers and Old World Santas. Students travel for miles to create their own family heirloom under the careful eye of Carol.

No sooner has Carol completed a project and she is looking for a new challenge to stretch her creative muscles. Projects that would have most professional crafters weak-kneed are just another opportunity for Carol! And so it was in March of this year when Carol was approached to enter a float in the White Rock parade, of course she said “yes!” A neighbour generously donated a 53-foot flat deck and truck for the parade, so Carol and husband Barry went to check it out and get ideas. “I knew I needed something different ¾ well a Christmas float in August is different! I thought it might look silly, but I decided I didn’t care.” Once she and her husband saw how large the flat deck actually looked, Barry immediately had misgivings about the whole idea. “I just told him, I have to think. So I thought on the drive home and I decided I would have to GO BIG! Within a few minutes I had the whole thing in my head, I knew exactly how it would look, and I just went from there.”

Carol decided on life-size reproductions of her snowmen, Santas and Carolers for her float. To her it made the most sense to start with the faces. “I told my son, Curtis I’m going to plaster my face, just check on me every once in a while to see if I am still breathing.” Carol experimented with the plaster and created a way to mold faces. She invited a group of sorority sisters over to “get plastered” and away she went. Then she crafted the bodies and their clothing. Soon she had life-sized figures of her designs. Next came the float.

Carol’s goal was to complete her float and travel from one end of White Rock to the other, without losing power! In order to do that, she rented a generator so large that it could power three houses, but had to be towed behind the float! “It had to be a big thing to be visual – that meant lots of lights!” Son, Curtis (a budding electrician) created a circuit board for the float and it’s electrical needs. Curtis rode up front (with the driver) during the parade, on standby for any technical power problems. 

With the help of many volunteers, the float was decorated with garlands, cutter sleigh, pony cart and of course, thousands of tiny white lights. Carol’s life-sized figures were added and as a wonderful addition, Miss White Rock and her princesses climbed aboard. The float slowly traveled the parade route as Christmas music filled the air and a blaze of white lights heralded their arrival. Carol walked beside the float handing out class brochures from the ground she was able to keep an eye on how everything was going. The crowd cheered as the float went by and it was no surprise when Carol clinched first place and overall best lighting! Was there any doubt? 

Listening to Carol describe the experience of creating the float, it is no doubt that this was a definite highlight among her many craft accomplishments. So what will Carol think of next? Who knows! Always striving to push her skills and try something new, it won’t be long and Carol will have dreamed up her next crafting challenge!  

Carol can be heard saying, “I can see it before I can make it”. Watch for exciting new directions from Carol Moore Designs.

To contact Carol regarding a class schedule:
Carol Moore Designs
2186 – 198th Street
Langley, BC
V2Z 1Y8
(604) 534-4022

Karen Booy is the publisher of Craftlink, a magazine for professional crafters. In addition to writing about other crafters, Karen also designs and markets your own line of craft patterns under the business name, Ewe & Me Pattern Company. Check out her website at www.karenbooy.com


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