By Leilani Roberts Ott
Best friends Jan Snyder and Carla Cooper are like little girls playing in a doll house.
They have beads and baubles to play with along with plenty of doilies, lace, ribbon and yarn. They claim Snyder is “research and development” and Cooper is “imagination and the mind” of their little business venture, Spicy Couture.
The two are bringing their creations to the 20th annual Frost on the Pumpkin Arts, Crafts and Vintage Show from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at First United Methodist Church, 600 E. Okmulgee Ave. It’s free. Proceeds benefit the church missions.
Their doll house is a little workshop behind Snyder’s Fort Gibson home. Cooper lives just down the road. They always have been crafty. Snyder remembers making a cowboy shirt for her son that everyone wanted. Cooper remembers making matching dresses for her four daughters and herself for Easter Sunday one year.
“We looked like the Von Trapp family from ‘The Sound of Music,’” Cooper said and laughed.
Unlike those matching dresses for Cooper’s daughters, no two items will be just alike in their booth. It’s their fifth year to participate in this show. They have vests made of layered crocheted tablecloths, ruffles and lace. They use burlap to make all kinds of things from pillows with ribbon to purses with button closures. Snyder crochets colorful hats and mittens. They make giant dream catchers, adorn mirrors, sew pieces of an old mink coat and leather together for a lampshade, use a strip of leather to make a leather cuff or bracelet, and hammer out spoons to make jewelry. Those are just a few of their unusual creations.
Frost on the Pumpkin co-coordinator Francie Wright said the show features more than 50 vendors — each one unique like Spicy Couture. There will be door prizes given with the big prize — a Kindle Paperwhite. Everyone is welcome to have breakfast, lunch or a snack served by the youth of the church. Homemade baked goods are for sale, too.
The show is the only show the best friends participate in. They have a booth at the Briar Patch Market Place near Tahlequah.
“I like strolling through there,” Snyder said. “It’s like walking through a magazine.”
These best buds have been strolling together since 1978. They met while working at Consumer’s Pharmacy in Muskogee. Snyder then went to work at Bennett-Lister Cadillac and later Cooper came to work there. They both went to work at Central Oklahoma Foods in Haskell, and moved with the company when it became Whitlock Packaging in Fort Gibson. Snyder moved on to do financial aid for Indian Capital Technology Center, where she retired from; and Cooper is now employed by Muskogee Public Schools as secretary to the superintendent.
“We lost touch sometimes just in raising our families, but when we saw each other again, we just picked right back up,” Cooper said.
They each got a divorce and found husbands, Avery Snyder and Steve Cooper, who support their friendship and weekend runs for estate sales and garage sales. They also go to Canton, Texas, in their RV twice a year for the largest flea market and craft show of its kind.
It was a trip to Canton that got them started on their business venture eight years ago. They saw a shadowbox necklace for about $120. They decided they could do that so they bought one and tore it apart to see how it was made. Snyder soldered the tiny boxes with a scripture, cross or other objects inside. They described it as like making stained glass.
Cooper took some of them to Hot Springs, Ark., to sell to shops for resale and made $1,000 in a day.
“It was a craze and it dried out,” Cooper said.
The trend that is selling now is vintage. They buy old sparkly pins and earrings and attach them to an old coin purse or solder the metal from the pin to a spoon they have flattened and make it a necklace.
“Carla likes gaudy,” Snyder said. “I like the smaller jewelry.”
The two tease each other and laugh as only best friends can.
“We have made stunning handbags,” Cooper said. “We use leather, tapestry, old velvet and antique jewelry.”
Her latest venture is to embellish worn boots “that are nice and soft” with sequins, rhinestones, vintage chains, brooches or earrings.
Snyder even redoes furniture, turning an old sewing cabinet into a vanity with mirror or re-covering an old chair she picked up at a garage sale.
When not antiquing or making their Spicy Couture creations, they attend the same church, First Freewill Baptist in Fort Gibson, and spend time with their blended families — Snyder’s four children and eight grandchildren; and Cooper’s eight daughters and 13 grandchildren.
Snyder said they have their projects to “keep them off drugs.” Cooper said it’s so they can make money to blow all over again doing what they love.
If you go
WHAT: Frost on the Pumpkin Arts, Crafts and Vintage Show.
WHEN: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: First United Methodist Church, 600 E. Okmulgee Ave.
INFORMATION: Francie Wright, (918) 869-6210.