SPOONER -- Sometimes the best gifts are the ones you don't expect. This year for Christmas, Katie Hagen, a DIY crafter on the weekends and a Northwoods Hardware Hank employee during the week, made over sixty 'thin blue line' ornaments for every law enforcement personnel in the county.
When asked why she said that working as an EMS she saw the tireless work law enforcement does that goes unnoticed by the public. She also has a brother and his girlfriend that work for the state patrol, so she wanted to say thank you in some way to the people who do so much, often putting their lives on the line, every day.
As a crafter for the past five years, she had an idea and was able to then create a personalized thank you ornament for each member of each department.
This effort started in November when she contacted each of the four police departments, Spooner, Shell Lake, Minong and Birchwood and the Washburn County Sheriff's Office to get the name and number of each of the police, the deputies, the dispatcher/jailers and the support staffs.
Officers and deputies don't go by their name, but each by their assigned number.
She hand-lettered each one's number onto a small dark blue Christmas ornament, connecting it with a thin blue line running around the circumference.
She saved small hardware boxes from her day job and then used them to carefully wrap each individual gift before she delivered them to all the departments.
“I believe that Blue Lives Matter, so this was my way of saying thank you.”
Most of what she makes as a crafter are a one-of-a-kind idea and her finished products reflect this.
She's big on re-purposing items and has recently re-purposed a table and chairs with some of the new paints on the market and her boss, Tami Davidson, has it displayed in their paint department.
Tami and her husband Gary are setting aside a Saturday this winter to sponsor a class given by Katie, who knows all about the new chalk paints and how to use them along with ideas where to find great items and how to re-purpose them.
Katie's Northwoods arrangements flew off her craft table this year with their faux pine, berries, sticks and ribbon in clever recycled containers.
She takes custom orders and will work with items her buyers might have already, or she's always trolling thrift shops and many other places to find that unusual piece she then uses to create her unique designs; which means, everyone on your block won't have the same thing on their front porch. She still has a few antique runner sleds and three horse collars in her collection.
Naturally, she does signs and specializes in Americana, Country Primitive, and Northwoods.
She's a graduate of Spooner High School and still lives and works in the town of her birth. She credits her art teacher, Bill Schroeder who challenged her to uses various mediums and then twist them to suit her own designs.
She has expanded this talent to painting on not just canvas, but wood and saw blades.
She has a Facebook page if you'd like to see more of her work. She's also on Katies Krafty Korner, but admits that she's been too busy to keep it updated.
She loves doing what she loves, making people happy, which is not hard to this giving people person.
If you've got something in mind or would like to see how she envisions what you want, get in touch via the internet, or watch for the date of her DYI, How to Use the New Paints Class coming this winter.