By ELIZABETH GOLDEN
Donna Erickson, Hays, has been involved in crafts for more than 30 years. As a vender in the recently opened downtown shop, Oohs-N-Oz, she has added Valentine's Day gifts to her list of crafts.
Kim Thomason, manager of Oohs-N-Oz, discovered Erickson at a crafts show last year.
"She was coming around handpicking vendors," Erickson said, "and she asked me if I would like some of my stuff in her store."
Oohs-N-Oz is geared toward one-of-a-kind items.
For the past three years, Erickson has created seasonal candy bouquets. She also started making seasonal candy vases within the last year.
"I don't always do the same projects," she said. "I have a project for a couple years, then everyone starts doing it or there's something else to do."
Her candy bouquets contain theater-sized candy boxes for the base and are decorated with smaller candies and filler paper.
"I put other candies on sticks, like lollipops," Erickson said. "The filler is made of crushed up paper or tissue."
For the candy vases, she places a smaller vase inside a larger vase, with candy between the two vases.
"The interior vase will still hold water if you want to use it for fresh flowers," Erickson said. "The candy is meant for decoration only."
Her idea for the candy vases, as well as several of her other crafts, come from websites such as Etsy and Pinterest.
"I'm the type of person that will take their ideas and make it," she said. "Then it's homemade from me, and I use it as gifts."
Each year, she makes approximately a dozen of each item.
"They usually sell out at the last minute," Erickson said. "Each year, people ask me for some on Valentine's Day. I might not always have enough, so I encourage people to plan ahead."
Her bouquets are created without method, as she pulls items she enjoys.
"I do not have method to my madness," Erickson said. "It's whatever I like the best. Conversation hearts are really nice for Valentine's Day."
The vases sell for $15, and the bouquets range from $22 to $25.
They can be purchased at Oohs-N-Oz or online through Nex-Tech Classified. After the conclusion of the Valentine's Day season, she will begin creating vases with an Easter theme.