With only a few weeks left to prepare, local artist Lori Mueller has been hard at work getting ready to reopen her craft shop this year.
Mueller is gearing up to relaunch Barn to Shop, a craft sale she holds once a month from March to November at her home near Cortland.
She anticipates that the first Barn to Shop event of the year will be held on March 3, and the sales feature handmade crafts, decor, clothes and baked goods provided by Mueller’s online craft shop, L. Creations, and other local vendors.
“I kind of make a lot of different things, so I’m able to fill up a lot of the barn now by myself, and then just bring their stuff in to do the things that I can’t do, or to fill it up to get a variety of things,” Mueller said.
Although Mueller said baby clothes and accessories are her favorite items to make, the jewelry pieces she creates have become some of the most meaningful items in her collection.
“I’ve met a lot of great people with my jewelry, through the memory pieces,” she said. “I’ve just met a lot a great people that have lost loved ones that I’ve made jewelry for.”
Mueller began making jewelry in 2013 after her 22-year-old brother passed away in a car accident. Creating handmade stamped jewelry and keychains for her family members helped her work through the loss, she said.
“My brother passed away in a car accident over by Bennett, five years ago in March. I just wanted to make a memorial for my parents and my sister,” she said. “I bought some stamping tools and made necklaces and keychains.”
After that, Mueller said she began receiving requests from others who were interested in the memory pieces and she decided to set up L. Creations to process the orders.
"People started wanting me to make something for them. I got a few orders, and I thought maybe I can go to a craft show or two, and then I made my Facebook page. Prior to this being my full-time job, I did daycare,” she said.
Now, Mueller’s business has expanded. She makes a wide array of items and gets orders from as far away as Pennsylvania, Arizona, Colorado and Florida.
In addition to the L. Creations Facebook page and the Barn-to-Shop events, Mueller sells jewelry in the Lincoln and Omaha Scheels stores and also has items available in the Lake Crest pharmacy in Adams, the Stagecoach Mall in Fairbury and at Rusted, Worn & Redone in Clatonia.
“I stamp jewelry and I sew and I do some woodworking. I make some furniture, some tables. I have a few stores that I have my stuff in, so that kind of helps get it out a little bit,” she said. “I’m always looking for new things to try and make.”