Making something is a badge of honor in Cape Girardeau. There’s something about being able to say “Oh, I made that!” that people in this area love and respect. Laboring over a craft with our own two hands and showing that we can make things we need and want will always be a source of pride for the people here. Allow us to introduce you to a few of these local makers below.
The Clothing Maker: Stacy Dohogne Lane
Stacy is a sewist. She’s been sewing since she was 5 or 6 and says that her mom and both grandmas all sewed and were huge influences on her getting into the craft. She inherited her Meemaw’s sewing machine and started sewing on her own in 2009 for her wedding (looking for a way to make her bridesmaids unique gifts). She’s sewn all kinds of things and just recently got into the trade of sewing apparel, with which she is totally “smitten.”
“The ability to take a piece of fabric and create something wearable is so empowering,” she explains. A couple of pieces that she’s most proud of include a half circle skirt (she drafted the pattern on her own and used vintage fabric from a local estate sale), a raglan sweatshirt from Sew U Home Stretch (she stuck with the pattern but did modifications to make it work for her), a Gryffindor Quidditch robe for her son’s Halloween costume and a jacket she made for her son out of a pillowcase and vintage fabric. From these projects, she learned and perfected skills like hand lapping a zipper, creating a gold bias binding hem and making her first ever buttonholes.
If you’re itching to give sewing a try, Stacy suggests starting simple and allowing yourself to make mistakes. “There’s not a lot you can’t fix with a seam ripper. Every mistake you make you’ll learn from!”
The Furniture Maker: Pat Watson
Meet Pat Watson, the talented furniture maker. Pat started his craft almost 10 years ago while looking for a way to furnish he and his wife’s new home. He built a beautiful coffee table and two side tables out of pine and mahogany that he found in a dumpster. It wasn’t easy. He spent days removing the previous finish on the wood (borrowing a sander and then taking the wood out to his father-in-law’s barn to make the needed cuts with a mitre saw). He spent $12 on the project for hardware, stain and polyurethane. With that he was able to furnish his living room with what I would now call heirloom pieces that are still in his living room today.
Pat enjoys making furniture “because it can be very creative and personal.” There’s always multiple ways to build a piece, and Pat likes the creative and practical challenges that comes with the craft.
“I still love the tables I made nine years ago because they are a constant reminder that no matter where you are in life, you started with something and sometimes the first step is always the hardest and the most frustrating.”
Pat has made many pieces since those initial tables. He’s built furniture for friends, family members and admiring friends of friends who have seen his great craftsmanship first hand. He’s made tables, shelves, consoles, bar stools and much more. One of his more interesting projects was for a light beam at Dynamite Coffee. Owner, Robbie Britt, had a vision and Pat had a lot of fun bringing it to fruition.
Pat has some cool advice for those interested in trying this craft themselves. “I was a huge fan of Legos growing up. When designing something before building it-visualize it as nothing more than a series of Lego pieces you must build in order to construct your piece.”
A Couple of Makers: Chris & Jen Behnken
Husband and wife Chris and Jen Behnken are both big DIYers. Chris, a computer programmer by day, loves working on cars. He can help fix just about anything that’s wrong with a car, and loves tinkering, building and mastering his 1995 Dodge Stealth RT Turbo. He also enjoys woodworking and perfecting his latest home brew. Jen, a conservationist by day, makes her own applesauce, cans tomatoes and salsa and landscapes their yard.
I asked Chris how he got into working on cars and found out it was a story of sheer will!
“When I was 15 and getting ready to get my learner’s permit, I needed a car and had been working on my dad’s farm since I was 13. My grandfather, who had passed away when I was 10, had an old 1974 GMC truck that was sitting around, and my brother, Joel, helped me get it working and safe to drive after sitting for 15 years without moving. I spent about 6-9 months working on it, and had it ready when I turned 16 to be my first car. Learned a lot about cars from Joel and owe a lot of my hands-on attitude and skills to him.”
The Seasoned Maker: Carrie Woelk
We’re not just calling her the Seasoned Maker because of her ancho chili spice mix that she throws together for her favorite roasted veggies, but Carrie earns this title because she’s been a DIYer for a while now. She makes her own vanilla extract, kombucha, scented moisturizers with essential oils and the most versatile of all – baby wipes! She says they’re nice to have around for all kinds of things, baby messes aside. Carrie also helps keep her family and friends warm with her crocheting talent, making scarves, hats and blankets.
When asked why she likes to make so many things, Carrie explained that it’s a great creative outlet and she loves seeing a finished product after creating it. She also added that the woman in Proverbs 31 made things with her hands and that that scripture from the Bible is a big inspiration to her.
The Literal Food Maker: Katie Young
Katie, a digital marketer by day, is a big gardener, and, in the summertime, she grows a variety of vegetables and herbs. She germinates her own seeds during the winter, so when spring rolls around, she has her own starter plants to put in the ground. She likes to container garden the most but has also grown things in straight soil, too. She freezes a lot of the veggies that she grows, so she can enjoy them throughout winter.