Woman creates keepsakes from throw-away items

The Courier
Published Monday, October 25, 1999

DOVER -- Give B.J. Lamie of Dover old pairs of jeans or maybe old neckties and a few minutes to work on a way to use it, and soon you will have a doll, a quilt or even a hat box.

Born of the necessity of being a single mother at Christmas, Mrs. Lamie used her talents -- taught by parents and grandparents -- to provide lovingly made gifts for her children.

Now she travels to show after show selling her creations -- from pillows to floral arrangements.

"I mainly do soft sculpture," said Mrs. Lamie. "Pillows, lap quilts, baby quilts, florals, novelty. Anything that will hold still long enough for me to use the glue gun on it."

She takes everyday items and, using a little imagination and a little glue, she makes them keepsakes, like using blown out lightbulbs to make angels or old blue jeans to make lap quilts.

"I leave the pockets in (the lap quilts) so you'll have a place to put the remote control," said Mrs. Lamie, showing a colorful quilt made of the heavy denim.

Mrs. Lamie said she is a third-generation crafter. Her parents and grandparents knitted and crocheted and her father was a painter. Now her two daughters help her out, and her grandchildren have begun to be interested in crafting.

As the single mother of six children, Mrs. Lamie learned early how economical making gifts could be. With a job to support her children and having to raise her children alone, she stayed up late at night to finish her creations.

"I'm lucky," she said. "I don't require a lot of sleep."

She worked her first craft show in 1979.

She now has in her booths designer pillows, character pillows, Victorian hat boxes, tie dolls and quilts.

"I never make two alike," she said.

A creation she said is one of her favorites and one that takes much time and effort is the hat box. Decorated with lace, figurines, gloves, flowers and ribbon, the box is strictly for decoration only.

"I make them so that any way you look at them, there is always something to look at," she said.

The tie dolls are also pretty popular at the shows, she said. They are made of old ties with wooden faces, and are made to hang on the wall. Christmas ties are sometimes used to help decorate the home for the holidays.

Mrs. Lamie said most of her crafts are her own ideas.

"I'll see (a craft) and it will instill another idea," she said. "I don't like to copy someone else's idea."

Although she has been doing shows for several years, Mrs. Lamie said she has no plans to quit.

"I do it to meet people," she said. "It's a ministry to me. Everybody collects something. I collect friends."

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