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Getting crafty in Cortland

Artisans support various groups with sales from show

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Mary La Vine, of Homer, displays one of her afghans Saturday during at an Elks Lodge craft show in Cortland.

Sewing runs in the Donlick family. Christel Donlick started learning as a young girl while attending 4H, a youth mentoring program.

Now her daughters have started their own business with their sewing creations.

“Oh they know how to sew,” Christel Donlick said. “They took my leftovers and they started their own little business with dog toys and cat toys.”

The two girls, Annika, 14, and Elsie, 10, were among 31 vendors at the Cortland Elks Lodge on Groton Avenue in Cortland from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The second-annual event raises fund to support events like Toys for Tots, Sweats for Vets, and the lodge’s Pancake Breakfast. It’s also helping the organization pay for two packages to be sent to two Cortland soldiers in Afghanistan. This year the Elks Lodge raised $750, said Carrie Kane, the lodge’s exalted ruler.

Annika and Elsie sold animal toys, while Christel Donlick sold weighted blankets and scarfs. “I just like to sew and I had a niece and my brother asked me to do one for her and it came out so well, so I continued sewing,” Christel Donlick said.

Her children took it up after watching her over the years.

“It was kind of an easy way to get started,” Annika said.

Growing up, Mary Lavine had a neighbor who liked sewing and tried to teach Lavine.

“She started teaching me and I said, ‘This isn’t for me,’ ” Lavine said, chuckling. “Crocheting goes much faster.”

Lavine started crocheting 35 years ago after she saw her mother-in-law doing it.

“I just started to teach myself with a little help from her and it went from there,” Lavine said.

Lavine got so into it she began entering crochet contests at the New York State Fair, where she won first place several times.

Her favorite afghan is one with a mauve rose on it. She was also selling Syracuse University-themed items.

“I grew up in Syracuse and I used to go to the football games with my uncle,” Lavine said.

Nearby, Toni Miller sold handmade items she welded out of horseshoes. She got into welding while working at Pall Trinity Micro Corp. in Cortlandville as her sons learned to ride horses.

Toni Miller of Toni’s Trinkets Treasures talks about her welded horseshoe creations Saturday at an Elks Lodge craft show in Cortland.

“I was like, there’s got to be something you can make out of horseshoes, so I started doing some research,” she said.

Miller said she’s getting ready to work on her largest project yet — a Christmas tree.

She said even though she’s been at it for about four years, it doesn’t get boring or old.

“I do it because people like it and I like making people happy,” Miller said.

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