The Martha Stewart of El Dorado County
Homemade holiday crafts are commonly reserved for the highly creative. The rest of the population is forced to buy their gifts, stopping only occasionally to think, “I could make that myself for a lot less money.”
Jeanie Redmond doesn’t just think, she does.
From unique shell-covered pots and garden ornaments to milk carton bird houses covered with wallpaper, Redmond is “crafty,” – so much so that the West Slope resident has been called “the Martha Stewart of the foothills.”
Besides being the host of two television shows in Placerville, Redmond cooks, gardens, sews, designs clothing and in her free time hosts seminars for the El Dorado County Office of Education. Despite her impressive resume, Redmond said would-be crafters don’t need their own television show to make homemade gifts and decorations.
“The biggest part is just doing it,” Redmond said. “Start on an easy project and complete it. That’s my advice to people who think they’re not creative. Just try If you make a mistake, just try again.”
Redmond’s career began early. As a child, she and her friends had little money so they used their imaginations to build cutout houses from catalogs, complete with pasted-in furniture.
“We didn’t have television,” she said. “I loved paper dolls. That was during World War II, before Barbie was invented.
“I’ve always been creative. I started as a child and majored in college to be a home economics teacher, then I got married and, of course, things change.”
Capable of making virtually anything for the home, Redmond gets some of her ideas from magazines and books.
“I have a library of books I’ve bought,” Redmond said. “I get ideas and then I just do it.”
Redmond conducts workshops for Head Start Mothers as part of El Dorado County’s child development program.
“I do seminars here (Placerville) and in South Lake Tahoe,” she said. “Some of them have never had a female role model to teach them how to apply for jobs or set a table, let alone decorate for the holidays.”
Redmond calls her workshops “Life and Home Skills in a Nutshell.”
“A lot of the women who come do not speak English, so I have an interpreter,” Redmond said. “I try to show them the basics How to set a table How to put in a basic hem so you can mend your children’s clothes. It’s basic 101 in a nutshell.”
Other workshop themes include “Turning thrift shop items into something beautiful,” “Cook anything,” “Improvise in the kitchen” and “Clean your house with time savers.”
And with several professional titles under her belt including seminar instructor, motivational speaker, professional model, camp counselor and decorator, Redmond certainly appears qualified to teach her trades.
“I love to motivate women to do things,” Redmond said. “Young mothers desperately need advice and help. I like to share my ideas, my talents.”
Every year Redmond thinks of something new and fun to create for the holidays, but keeps one tradition going without fail.
Over the years she has crafted and maintained numerous “trees,” made from tomato baskets and garland, which she places throughout her home.
“I have 13 trees in my house and they all have a different theme,” she said. “There’s one with teddy bears. There are birds, nutcrackers, Victorian, all kinds. There’s also an angel tree in our bedroom that never comes down. We keep that one up year-round.”
For more information, visit Redmond’s Web site at http://www./scat.getonline.org
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